Connor Bedard sends Canada to World Juniors semis with sensational OT goal

Jan 3 2023, 2:33 am

What a game. What a goal.Ā Team Canada is heading to the semi-finals at the World Juniors in Halifax, after a thrilling overtime win against Slovakia in the quarter-finals.

Connor Bedard was the hero for Canada, scoring a sensational OT winner 5:17 into three-on-three overtime. The 17-year-old dangled through all three Slovak skaters, and then the goalie, to bury the winner.

Bedard had 10 shots on goal in the game, including five in overtime.

 

The goal was Bedard’s second of the game. The North Vancouver native potted the first goal of the game 6:07 into the first period. That goal broke three Canadian World Junior records, including most career goals (15), most career points (32), and most points in a single tournament (19).

Bedard also assisted on Dylan Guenther’s power-play goal, which gave Canada a 2-0 lead.

Canada held a wide shots-on-goal advantage (57-27), but the plucky underdog Slovak team refused to go away. Slovakia’s Libor Nemec scored his first of two goals in the second period to cut Canada’s lead in half.

Zack Opstapchuk’s goal made it 3-1 for Canada, but Robert Baco answered right back for Slovakia before the second period was over. Nemec tied the game for Slovakia with less than eight minutes left in what was a nerve-filled third period for Canada.

Slovak goaltender Adam Gajan made 53 saves in the game.

Canada controlled the majority of play in overtime, but needed a glove save off a rebound from goaltender Thomas Milic to keep their gold medal dreams alive.

“Connor’s just something special. I mean, he put on a show,” said Canadian forward Brennan Othmann, who had one assist in the game, in a post-game interview with TSN.

“It’s so exciting,” Othmann added when asked about the atmosphere in overtime. “You hear the fans and the crowd get into it, it’s something special for sure. I’ve never experienced something like that… It’s a joy to be playing for Team Canada at this level.”

USA will be Canada’s opponent in the semi-finals on Wednesday at 6:30 pm ET/3:30 pm PT. Czechia plays Sweden in the other semi-final.

USA beat Germany earlier in the day 11-1. Other quarter-final results include Sweden beating Finland 3-2, and Czechia blowing out Switzerland 9-1.

The gold medal game is on Thursday.

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