World Youth Championship: Bedard, Canada eliminated Slovakia in the first half


Connor Bedard made an opponent miss.

And another one. And another one.

The spectacular 17-year-old then calmly slid the ball home to start the wild celebrations and send his country to the semi-finals at the world junior hockey championship.

Bedard scored at 5:17 of extra time thanks to an amazing, individual effort on Monday as the league hosts beat Slovakia 4-3.

The prodigious talent overcame the three Slovaks before hitting his eighth goal backhand in the event to blow off the roof of the red-shirted Scotiabank Center.

“I’ve always wanted the ball,” Bedard said. “Still hockey, I’m still out there doing what I love. The moment was amazing. But I did that move, I did the same shot that I’ve done a million times. in his basement…in fact, alone on the ice.

“I’m out there playing hockey.”

To an absolutely amazing degree.

“I’m calling for it,” Canadian guard Brandt Clarke said of the standout OT scene. “But I saw him burn the first man, see him burn the second, see him burn the third and then do a backhand hit on the keeper.

“It was one of the craziest moments I’ve ever been in.”

Bedard also scored early in the first game – setting four records in the process – before adding an assist on Canada’s second goal to establish another national mark.

“It’s hard to put into words what he means to our team,” said goalkeeper Thomas Milic, who made 24 saves, including a couple of excellent saves to keep his team in check. survived, said. “It looks like he’s pressing random buttons on the Xbox controller to create some of these dangling patterns. You never know what he’s going to do next. He’s always surprising.”

“I think (Bedard’s) comes from another world,” said Slovakia captain Simon Nemec.

Dylan Guenther and Zack Ostapchuk provide the rest of the offense for the Canadians, who will face the United States on Wednesday after the Americans beat Germany 11-1.

Libor Nemec, with two, and Robert Baco answering for Slovakia, the team has 52 stops ahead of Adam Gajan.

“Played a great game,” said Simon Nemec. “Best game in the league.”

The Czechs beat Switzerland 9–1 to advance to the other semi-final against Sweden, who beat Finland 3–2.

When Simon Nemec was sent off for a Bedard cross-check late in the third half, Shane Wright hit the crossbar in extra time after a shot went wide of Gajan’s post.

Milic then made a superb save with Servac Petrovsky to keep his team alive before Bedard inscribed his name into Canadian world lore.

“I think it worked,” Bedard said of Petrovsky’s chance. “I was about to cry on the bench. It was ridiculous. I was so scared.”

Said to be the top pick at the 2023 NHL draft, Bedard opened the scoring just over six minutes into the opening minute of a breakaway after Slovakia defender Pavol Funtek turned the ball around.

That pushed Western Hockey League’s center Regina Pats past Eric Lindros to top Canada’s all-time list with 34 points at the men’s under-20 event.

The product of North Vancouver, BC, also surpassed Jordan Eberle for the most combined goals at world youth tournaments by a Canadian player with 16 goals.

Canada took a 2-0 lead thanks to a play of strength as five minutes into the second passed as Bedard found Othmann, who then gave the falling Guenther.

Bedard sets a new record for most points by a Canadian in a tournament with 21, owns the national mark with 13 assists in an event and overtakes Jaromir Jagr for most points. by a player 18 years of age or younger.

“I’m not focused on personal success here,” said Bedard, who headed the podium with Canada in the summer. “I want another gold medal… and that’s all I want.”

The Slovaks took to the field and responded with their own play of power as Nemec headed a shot on target.

Canada restored a two-goal lead just over three minutes later when Ostapchuk overtook saver Gajan during the 3-v-1 break.

But Slovakia was back in the first round as Peter Repcik showed great patience to find Baco for the second.

Canada hit two turrets early in the third round before Milic made a stunning save in a frantic challenge with Adam Sykora, firing off a spacer before Canadian defender Tyson Hinds used his glove to block the next attempt. follow.

“Incredible atmosphere,” Milic said. “A bit of a roller coaster.”

But Nemec scored the second of the game shortly after, less than nine minutes into Milic’s lead after a freeze to make it 3-3.

Bedard had a great opportunity to put Canada ahead late in the third half, but Funtek thwarted his effort.

In the end, however, that phenomenon will not be denied.

“That’s what he does,” Wright said. “Step up when he needs to. Big time player, big time game.”

And the Americans are next.

“What could be better? What more do you want?” Bedard talks about the exciting match. “What everyone in the country, everyone on the continent will be very excited about.

“There’s no better situation.”

Nor is there anyone better than Bedard.


Seattle Kraken Striker Congratulations Bedard while putting him on Canada’s target list in a pre-recorded message.

“You’re an incredible player to watch,” Eberle, the hero at the 2009 tournament, said in a video posted to Hockey Canada’s official Twitter account. “I’ve been following your career since you moved to my hometown and played with the Pats.

“Enjoy the experience.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 2, 2023.

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