GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. SLOVAKIA (AUG. 11)
TV: TSN | Radio: TSN Radio | Stream: TSN Direct
Coming off a big opening-game win over Latvia,
Canada’s National Junior Team gets right back on the ice at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship,
taking on Slovakia in its second of four preliminary-round games.
Canada was pushed by Latvia in its opener on Wednesday afternoon, netting
three goals in the final nine minutes of the second period to turn a tie
game into a three-goal lead
in an eventual 5-2 win. Connor Bedard opened the scoring and added an assist, and Ridly Greig and
William Dufour also chipped in with a goal and a helper. Lukas Cormier and
Olen Zellweger were the other goal-scorers, both on second-period power
plays. The Canadians were not short on chance, outshooting Latvia 44-24.
prelim opener against Czechia on Tuesday afternoon – a 5-4 loss – was a thriller. Slovakia came out flying, getting goals from
Servac Petrovsky and Matej Kaslik before the game was six minutes old. The
Czechs got the next four, but Rayen Petrovicky and Kaslik recorded
power-play goals to tie the game with less than four minutes to go. The
comeback was not to be, however, as a late Czech goal left Slovakia on the
wrong end of the final result.
Inside the bubble at the 2021 World Juniors in Edmonton, Canada
improved its record to 2-0 in Group A with a 3-1 win over the Slovakians on Dec. 27, 2020. Jordan Spence struck just four
minutes in, but the Europeans held Canada – which scored 16 goals in a win
over Germany a day earlier – to just 23 shots on goal. Philip Tomasino
added insurance with 3:35 to go, and Jack Quinn found the empty net after
Slovakia had pulled within one late.
WHAT TO WATCH
Do not give Canada an opportunity on the power play. The Canadians can roll
out two high-octane groups on the man advantage, and they were key in the
win over Latvia; Canada finished 2-for-3 while a man up, and the two goals
– from Lukas Cormier and Olen Zellweger – turned the tide, coming five
minutes apart to turn a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead. The scary part? As the
five-man units get more game action and become more familiar with each
other, they’re only going to get better.
There’s something about playing in Alberta that agrees with Simon Latkoczy.
The Slovakian goaltender posted the third-best save percentage during the
2021 World Juniors (.921) and stopped 39 of 42 in a narrow loss to the U.S.
before the tournament was cancelled last December. He was a hard-luck loser
in his 2022 re-debut on Tuesday, finishing with 47 stops in a 5-4 loss to
the Czechs. He’ll have to be good again to keep the high-powered Canadian
offence in check.
A LOOK BACK
Canada and Slovakia have been frequent foes at the World Juniors, facing
off 15 times since 1997, with eight of those matchups coming in the last
decade. The Canadians have won 14 of those 15 meetings, the lone blemish a
0-0 tie at the 1999 tournament in Winnipeg.
Among the individual highlights?
A memorable hat trick for Nic Petan in a 5-1 semifinal win in Toronto in 2015, and
a three-goal effort from Taylor Hall as part of an 8-2 win at the 2010 World Juniors in Saskatoon.
All-time record: Canada leads 14-0-1
Canada goals: 75
Slovakia goals: 16