Fort Saskatchewan's Olen Zellweger will have the eyes of the nation on him tonight.
He will be trying to help Team Canada's World Junior squad get past a dominant Team USA in the semi-finals in Halifax. The game is set to get underway at 4 p.m.
Canada is coming off an emotional quarterfinal overtime win against Slovakia on Monday (Jan. 2) after, teenage phenom, Conor Bedard undressed multiple defenders to score the game-winner. Bedard also set Canadian records in both points and goals at the World Juniors, passing both Eric Lindros and Jordan Eberle.
This will be Canada's biggest test yet, as the Americans boast some of the best firepower in the tournament. USA has been led by top 2022 NHL draft picks, Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud, and Cutter Gauthier. They defeated Germany 11-1 in the quarterfinals.
The winner will advance to the gold medal game and face either Sweden or Czechia. Canada lost to Czechia in the tournament's opening game and beat Sweden 5-1 on New Year's Eve.
Zellweger, who is a draft pick of the NHL's Anaheim Ducks, has been Canada's top defender at the tournament thus far, putting up five assists in five games. Over multiple tournaments, Zellweger ranks second among all Canadian World Junior defencemen in points with 17; Ryan Ellis holds the record with 25.
Another Fort Saskatchewan product, Colton Dach was injured last Saturday and left the tournament.