Coming off a loss in its tournament opener,
Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team
looks to bounce back when it faces off against co-host Slovakia on Tuesday
at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Canada will need to have a short memory after
dropping a 9-6 decision to Finland
in its tournament opener in Trencin. Berkly Catton recorded a goal and two
assists to lead the offence, while 14 of the 20 Canadian skaters put their
names on the scoresheet.
Slovakia is coming off of a loss of its own, falling 6-3 to Switzerland on
Monday to open its tournament. Samuel Kupec, Tomas Slank, and Ján Chovan
were the goal scorers for Slovakia, while outshooting the Swiss 25-11 in a
The teams last met a year ago in Red Deer, a
9-1 victory for Canada
. Brayden Yager opened the scoring at 5:15 of the first period, finishing
the night with two goals and two assists. Tanner Molendyk and Zachary Benson
recorded a goal and two assists each, while Carson Bjarnason turned aside 19
shots for the win.
What to Watch
Size will take centre stage as Slovakia (6-foot-1) and Canada (6-foot-0)
rank one-two in the tournament in average height. But don’t overlook Justin
Poirier. The 5-foot-6 forward from Valleyfield, QC scored in both of
Canada’s pre-tournament games before finding the back of the net against the
Finns. Poirier is no stranger to scoring goals; his 28 last season were
second among all QMJHL rookies, one back of Team Canada teammate Maxim
The Slovaks have a diminutive forward of their own, with 5-foot-8 Theo Kiss
driving the offence for the co-hosts. Kiss was the lone goal scorer in
Slovakia’s pre-tournament 4-1 loss to the United States, and had an assist
in the loss to the Swiss. The Kosice native, who has already committed to
the University of Massachusetts for the 2025-26 season, recorded 74 points
(32-42—74) in 56 games with the 16U team at Mount St. Charles Academy last
A Look Back
Canada and Slovakia have met 18 times at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, with Canada
owning an undefeated record while outscoring the Slovaks 104-30.
Last year’s eight-goal win matched the second-biggest margin of victory –
the Canadians also posted 9-1 triumphs in 2002 and 2008
Schenn had a goal and two assists, and Ryan Ellis had four helpers), and
were 12-2 victors in 2000.
All-time record: Canada leads 18-0 (1-0 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 104
Slovakia goals: 30