Canada Barely Beats Slovakia to Stay Undefeated

Team Canada took on Team Slovakia in their second game at the World Junior Hockey Championships In Edmonton, Alberta. It wasn’t pretty but they managed to top the Slovakians 3-1, improving to a 2-0 record in the tournament.

Coming into this game, Team Canada announced they would be without Dylan Holloway due to an upper body injury which he is suspected to have sustained against Germany the night before. They would also be missing Braden Schneider, who was given a one game suspension for a check to the head of Germany’s Jan-Luca Schumacher. They will have Schneider back for game 3 against Switzerland but there is no word yet on the extent of Holloway’s injury.

Canada struggled to capitalize offensively throughout the game, only scoring one goal over the course of the first two frames. This was in part due to the strong play from Slovakia defensively. Canada just couldn’t seem to get things going, with many plays being broken up at the blue line by the patient Slovakian back end. In addition, Canada’s forecheck was far from adequate, making Slovakia’s job easier. In his first game at the World Juniors, defenceman Jordan Spence scored in the first period to give the Canadians a lead.

Come the third period, Canada hit the ice with more power offensively but were still having issues in terms of defence. They were sloppy in their own zone leading to chances for Slovakia. They managed to hold on and Philip Tomasino scored with the help of a beautiful pass from Dylan Cozens. Tomasino was able to break past the defender and score what would end up as the game winner.

Slovakia’s Martin Chromiak cut Canada’s lead in half with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. They pulled their goalie for the extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game but ultimately fell short. Buffalo Sabres prospect, Jack Quinn, sealed the deal for Canada with an empty netter. Canada’s Devon Levi had another solid showing between the pipes, making 18 saves on his birthday.

Canada improved throughout the game but as a whole, a showing like this in the future will not be enough to get them another gold medal. This type of performance can be expected after a game like the blowout against Germany but it cannot continue. Hopefully, with a day to reset before their next game on Tuesday against Switzerland, Canada can bring their game to a higher level in preparation for future matchups.

Mikayla’s Players of the Game

Canada

Philip Tomasino

1 G, 1 A, 2 Points, 3 SOG

Tomasino worked over games 1 and 2 to prove why he should not have been scratched in the pre-tournament game against Russia. The Nashville Predators prospect has produced in both games, even scoring the game winner in this one, putting him at 5 points through two games. His speed and ability to move the puck has been on display thus far in the tournament and hopefully, with this earned confidence, Tomasino is able to progress even further. Coach Andre Tourigny should look at giving him more opportunity as he has surely earned it.

Slovakia

Samuel Hlavaj

20 SV, .909 SV%

This is Hlavaj’s third year at the World Juniors and he certainly held down the fort for the Slovaks in this one. The undrafted goaltender made impressive stops, including a big one on Connor McMichael, to keep his team in it right until the end. That’s all you can ask for in a goaltender and it would be no surprise if an NHL team decides to take a shot on him in the 2021 draft.

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