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William Dufour Settles In, Finishes Strong Against Latvia



William Dufour Canada
William Dufour blasts a one-timer off of a feed from Ridly Greig past Lavia goaltender Patricks Berzins to put Canada up 5-2 -- Photo courtesy of TSN

A night after New York Islanders top prospect Aatu Räty collected four points against Latvia to kick off his World Junior Championships, prospect William Dufour and Team Canada were in action Wednesday night against Latvia.

Canada defeated Latvia 5-2, with Dufour putting up two points.

Dufour is coming off a fantastic season with the St. John Sea Dogs as he was named MVP of the QMJHL after a 56-goal, 60-assist campaign in 66 games. Dufour was also named MVP of the Memorial Cup, as he notched seven goals and an assist in four games.

In his first contest of the World Junior Championships, Dufour skated alongside a pair of Ottawa Senators prospects in center Ridly Greig (28th overall pick in 2020) and left winger Zack Ostapchuk (39th overall pick in 2021).

Here’s how the night went:

Period 1

William Dufour got off to a slow start early in the first period, with an errant pass and a few plays where he looked a bit timid despite being 6’3, 205 lbs.

But as the period went on, he got more comfortable.

In a total of 4:53 minutes, Dufour registered two shots on goal.

The first shot came after Dufour picked off a Latvian pass just inside Latvia’s blue line and skated in towards goal, as he fired the puck low blocker side from inside the right circle.

Dufour’s second shot came after he came around the left-hand circle, before sending a wrist shot to the same spot, blocker side, which was turned aside.

The 20-year-old Dufour did throw the body, absolutely crushing a Latvian behind the net in the offensive zone, before picking up the puck.

His intensity level did not seem to be there, as he seemed heavy on his skates and a bit unsure of himself in the neutral zone and defensive zone.

Dufour did lead the rush, up the left-hand boards and used his frame to protect the puck before throwing it to the low slot, but no one was there.

He ended the period a -1 when Latvia scored the game-tying goal late in the period as he was getting off the ice.

He showed confidence when he had the puck in the offensive zone, but Team Canada needs him to show a bit more.

Period 2

Dufour had a quiet start to the second period, finding himself on the bench through most of the first half of the period with Canada having three powerplays in a nine-minute span.

When he did get on the ice, he continued to get more settled into the game and eventually left his mark on it.

With 3:10 of ice time, he had and an assist and a shot on goal.

He established that momentum early on, breaking up an attempted exit with 13:24 to go before finding Greig near the front of the net. Latvian goaltender Patriks Berzins came up with the save, but that was not the last time the two would connect.

After collecting a big hit, creating a scoring chance and showcasing some more crisp passing with 7:21 left in the period, he and Greig really got to work during their next shift.

With just under three minutes left in the period, Dufour chipped a breakout pass off the boards and found a streaking Greig headed onto a breakaway. The Ottawa Senators prospect finished off the play with the famous ‘Forsberg’ move through Berzins’ five-hole to extend Canada’s lead to 4-1.

As the period went on, he continued to build on the confidence he had in the first and it paid off in spades — with a highlight reel goal.


Period 3

Dufour picked up right where he left off in the second period, earning some penalty kill time and striking with a game-sealing goal late in the period.

To start the period, Dufour was presented minutes with Canada’s top unit after they took three penalties near the start of the period. He helped them kill off two of them.

After the two sides settled into 5-on-5 play, Dufour got to work.

He was set up from the left circle where he uncorked a one-timer with around 5:20 to go. After Berzins made the save, he shifted over to the right circle and unloaded a quick wrist shot, this time beating Berzins to put Canada up 5-2.

He finished the period with 4:28 of ice time, three shots and the insurance marker while helping Canada hold on to a 5-2 victory over Lativa.

Final Thoughts

Dufour’s confidence developed as the game went on — and it showed.

He went from making errant passes in the first to connecting on multiple passes in the second to uncorking one-timers in the third.

The 2020 fifth-rounder finished the game with a goal and an assist with six shots on goal in 12:31.

He was also a plus-1.

If Dufour continues to show this confidence — and build on the chemistry he has built with Greig — he could make his mark on the tournament.

With a duo like Dufour and Greig on the third line, Canada boasts one of the deepest lineups in the tournament and looks to be an early favorite.

Dufour and Team Canada will be back in action in a Thursday night clash with Slovakia at 6:00 p.m. EST.

William Dufour is a 2020 fifth-round pick of the New York Islanders. He is coming off of a 56-goal, 116-point season with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. He led the Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup while winning QMHJL MVP and Memorial Cup MVP in the process. The 20-year-old forward is going to play professionally in 2022-23, likely to start with the Bridgeport Islanders in the AHL while being a dark horse candidate to compete for an NHL spot during training camp.

Florida Hockey Now’s Colby Guy contributed to this story. You can follow him on Twitter at @ColbyDGuy and you can find his coverage of the Florida Panthers at


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