TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct
Canada’s National Men’s Team
has a chance to improve to 3-0 at the 2022 IIHF World Championship – a
complete reversal from its start a year ago – when it faces Slovakia as
Group A play continues at the Helsinki Ice Hall.
Canada started slow in its
6-1 win over Italy
on Sunday morning, allowing the opening goal 13 minutes in. But Travis
Sanheim equalized before the end of the first period, and Josh Anderson,
Nicolas Roy and Kent Johnson added goals in the second to put Canada in
control. Dysin Mayo and Noah Gregor – on a terrific shorthanded effort –
rounded out the scoring in the third, and Chris Driedger made 11 saves in
his international debut.
Slovakia opened up its tournament on Saturday with a
2-1 loss to Germany. All the scoring came in a busy second period, with Kristian Pospisil
counting for the Slovaks after Matthias Plachta and Leonhard Pfoderl scored
for the Germans. Patrik Rybar made 14 saves for Slovakia, which had a 29-16
edge in shots on goal.
Going back to the 2019 worlds in Slovakia, Canada met the hosts in the
preliminary round – a
that ended in Canada’s favour. The Slovaks scored the first two goals, only
for Anthony Mantha and Shea Theodore to equalize before the end of the
opening frame. The Slovaks again struck for two early in the second period,
but Jonathan Marchessault, Anthony Cirelli and Troy Stecher put the
Canadians ahead 5-4 after two. Matus Sukel tied it for Slovakia with 8:15
left, setting the stage for
Mark Stone’s power-play goal with 1.8 seconds left
– on his birthday – to give Canada a wild win.
WHAT TO WATCH
With the Canadians having been in Europe for only a week (and some less
than that), a 12:20 local time puck drop (5:20 a.m. ET), likely played into
a slower start against the Italians. With another early start on tap
against Slovakia, they’ll look to avoid the same thing. The good news?
Canada has scored 11 goals in two games, from eight different players.
That’s good production and, more importantly in short-term competition,
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its lone world title in 2002, the
Slovaks aren’t the contenders they used to be – they haven’t finished
better than eighth since a run to the gold medal game in 2012, and that’s
their lone appearance in the semifinals since 2004. They outshot the
Germans but could only muster a single goal, and need to figure out where
the offence is coming from if they hope to make some noise in Finland.
A LOOK BACK
Canada and Slovakia have played 15 times at worlds since 1996, and while
the all-time record is heavily in Canada’s favour, the majority of the
games have only been decided by one goal – nine of 15, in fact.
The largest margin of victory for the Canadians came in 2016,
a 5-0 win in the preliminary round. Cam Talbot made 18 saves for the shutout while the scoring was balanced
with five different Canadians finding the back of the net – Morgan Rielly,
Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall, Mark Scheifele and Derick Brassard.
All-time record: Canada leads 11-2-2
Canada goals: 58
Slovakia goals: 38