Chicoutimi Sagueneens left wing Charles Hudon doesn't have great memories of last year's World Junior Championship. Hudon injured his back in a pre-tournament contest, an injury that kept him out of the entire WJC and was a bother for most of the remainder of his 2012-13 season.
But, if Hudon's performance in the first game of the 2013 Subway Super Series was any indication, then the Montreal Canadiens prospect might just get another chance to represent Canada at the 2014 WJC.
Hudon potted two goals and added one assist in Team QMJHL's 3-2 win over Team Russia at the Robert Guertin Centre in Gatineau, QC. He and his linemates, Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads and Anthony Mantha of the Val d'Or Foreurs, provided all the offense that the QMJHL needed to best the Russians, with Mantha netting the game-winning goal and Hudon taking home Player of the Game honors for the QMJHL. Drouin assisted on all three QMJHL goals.
“It was good chemistry,” said Hudon of he and his linemates' solid offensive performance. “Me and [Drouin] know each other from when we were seven years old, so we have some fun playing together. And we got Anthony Mantha playing with us, so we got some good passes and some good scoring chances tonight.”
The offensive magic was not a happenstance occurance as the three players have had prior experience working as a trio.
“Me and Mantha have played together, and Drouin I have [played] against, it was always me one-on-one with him,” Drouin explained. “It was very good to play together this summer at the camp with Team Canada, we love to play together, and I think we have good chemistry.”
Hudon appears to have adopted the theme “Starting at zero” in regards to his getting a second chance to compete with Team Canada at the World Juniors. The phrase cropped up more than once during the talented offensive forward's post-game comments.
“It was a very good feeling,” Hudon said of his two-goal performance. “I started at zero this year because my back was injured, and it was tough at the start of the season. But I think this tournament can help me [return to the WJC], and that's what I did today…I feel very grateful, and I feel 100%.”
The opportunity to represent his country in a junior tournament will not come again as Hudon turns 20 next June. So, while there may be some pressure on the Alma, QC native to make the most of his last shot at a junior gold medal, Hudon seems to be taking the process in stride.
“I just take it day-by-day,” said Hudon. “Last year was very tough to come back to Canada with nothing around our neck. So, I think I start at zero this year, from my injury to the camp, so I think I'm ready for that.”
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