2024 mwc can svk matchup

Men’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Slovakia

Thursday, May 23 | 10 a.m. ET | Prague, Czechia | Quarterfinal

Jason La Rose
May 23, 2024

It’s on to the playoff round for Canada’s National Men’s Team, which takes on Slovakia in the first quarterfinal Thursday at the 2024 IIHF World Championship in Prague.

Last Game

Canada closed a out a perfect preliminary round Tuesday with an absolute thriller against the host Czechs, getting a pair of goals from Dylan Cozens – including a shorthanded overtime winner – in a 4-3 victory. Dawson Mercer and Brandon Hagel had the other Canadian goals in a game that saw six goals scored in a span of 17 minutes of the third period.

The Slovaks wrapped up the round-robin portion of their schedule with a 6-1 loss to Sweden on Tuesday. Michal Ivan scored the lone goal, while Stanislav Skorvanek finished with 37 saves as Slovakia dropped its second in a row.

Last Meeting

Canada and Slovakia went all the way to Round 8 of a shootout a year ago in the prelims in Riga, before Jack Quinn scored and Samuel Montembeault turned aside Martin Chromiak to secure a 2-1 win for the Canadians. Jake Neighbours scored the lone goal in regulation for Canada, which peppered Samuel Hlavaj with 44 shots through 65 minutes but needed a Michael Carcone goal in Round 5 to stay alive before Quinn got the winner.

What to Watch

How about John Tavares? The Canadian captain arrived in Czechia just as the tournament began and has slid seamlessly into the lineup. His eight points (1-7—8) are second-most among Canadian skaters, trailing only Dylan Cozens, his seven assists are one back of the tournament lead and – perhaps most impressively – he has absolutely dominated in the face-off circle, winning a whopping 76% of his draws (76 of 100), which puts him almost eight percentage points of second-place Brady Tkachuk of the U.S. (68.5%). Although it has been eight years since he donned the Maple Leaf, Tavares is one of the country’s most decorated representatives – he has won two World Juniors gold medals, an Olympic gold, a World Cup of Hockey and a Spengler Cup, posting 89 points (42-47—89) in 74 international games.

The kids have been alright for Slovakia so far. While it’s 33-year-old Libor Hudacek leading the team in scoring with nine points (5-4—9) in seven prelim games, he’s followed closely behind by 20-year-olds Juraj Slafkovsky (0-7—7) and Simon Nemec (1-5—6) and 24-year-old Martin Pospisil (3-4—7). Slafkovsky and Nemec are the future of Slovak hockey – they made history in 2022 when they went one-two to Montreal and New Jersey, respectively, in the NHL Draft, becoming the highest drafted players ever from Slovakia. Slafkovsky announced his arrival on the international stage two years ago in Finland, recording nine points in eight games as an 18-year-old, one month before the Canadiens took him No. 1.

A Look Back

Canada has won the last five meetings with Slovakia, dating back to 2014, and 13 of the 17 all-time meetings going back to 1996 when Slovakia returned to the Top Division after its split from Czechia.

Included in those 17 are three quarterfinal meetings – Slovakia earned a 3-2 victory in 2002, Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 Canadian win in 2006 and the Slovaks made a late comeback to get a 4-3 victory in 2012.

All-time record: Canada leads 13-2-2 (1-0 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 65
Slovakia goals: 40

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

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