2023 wjc can slo 12 21

World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Slovakia

Monday, January 2 | 7:30 p.m. AT | Halifax, Nova Scotia | Quarterfinal

Shannon Coulter
January 2, 2023


Happy New Year! After defeating Sweden in the final preliminary game to solidify its hold on second place in Group A, Canada’s National Junior Team will face Slovakia in the quarterfinals to begin win-or-go-home hockey.


In a New Year’s Eve showdown Canada closed the prelims with a 5-1 win over Sweden on Saturday. Joshua Roy scored only 57 seconds into the game, with Brennan Othmann and Tyson Hinds scoring goals of their own to give Canada a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. Othmann added a second goal in the third period and Kevin Korchinski rounded out the scoring in Canada’s third win in a row. Thomas Milic made 22 saves, while Canada battered Carl Lindbom with 44 shots at the other end.

In its final preliminary-round game, Slovakia dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to Switzerland. Adam Sykora opened scoring in the first period and Servac Petrovsky scored twice in the second to give Slovakia a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame. But Switzerland tied it up in the last 20 minutes to send the game to extra time. It was a battle of the goaltenders with Kevin Pasche and Adam Gajan pushing the shootout to a 20th skater before Rodwin Dionicio scored to drop the Slovaks to third in Group B.


Canada and Slovakia last met in Moncton two weeks ago in pre-tournament action, with the Canadians earning a 6-1 win. Colton Dach opened the scoring in the first period. Brandt Clarke and Zach Dean scored 21 seconds apart in the middle frame to increase the lead. Less than a minute into the third, Brennan Othmann and Joshua Roy scored six seconds apart, with Dylan Guenther scoring later in the period to round out the scoring. Benjamin Gaudreau made 16 saves, with Canada firing 48 shots on Patrik Andrisik.


Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but … Connor Bedard. After Saturday’s four-point performance against Sweden, the 17-year-old is on the brink of passing Eric Lindros’ all-time Canadian scoring record (he’s tied at 31 points) and the single-tournament mark (he’s even with Dale McCourt and Brayden Schenn at 18). The next goal Bedard scores will also surpass Jordan Eberle’s all-time Canadian record for goals at the World Juniors. With Colton Dach’s tournament-ending injury, Owen Beck will make his Team Canada debut against Slovakia. The Mississauga Steelheads captain has 17 goals and 40 points in 30 games this season.

Gajan has been very good in the Slovak net; his 1.95 goals-against average and .939 save percentage ranked among the tournament leaders in the prelims, and he allowed just three goals at five-on-five in his three appearances. He was terrific against the Swiss, making 32 saves through overtime and turning aside seven of 10 in the shootout, and he’ll need to be good again if the Europeans hope to spring the upset.


Canada has dominated the head-to-head history, winning 15 of 16 meetings (with the other ending in a tie in 1999 – the only 0-0 draw in Canadian World Juniors history).

Mason McTavish’s six-point performance (four goals, two assists) in an 11-1 win last summer was the second ever – the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, had a hat trick and three assists against Czechoslovakia on Christmas Day 1977 in Montreal. Two other players have hat tricks against Slovakia since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s – Taylor Hall at the 2010 World Juniors, and Nic Petan in the 2015 semifinals.

All-time record: Canada leads 15-0-1
Canada goals: 86
Slovakia goals: 17

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

Recent News
Most Popular
2024 WPHC: CAN 2 – USA 1 (Gold Medal)
Kingsmill was sensational, backstopping Canada to a world title.
2024 WPHC: CAN 2 – CHN 1 (Semifinal)
Kovacevich and Cozzolino scored to send Canada to play for gold.
2024 WPHC: CAN 5 – CZE 1 (Preliminary)
Dunn and McGregor had 2G each as Canada capped a perfect prelims.
2024 WPHC: CAN 10 – ITA 0 (Preliminary)
McGregor scored four goals to help Canada to its second win.