World Junior Championship roundup: Slovakia surges past United States

Wednesday is the third day of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Avenir Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Day 3 games

Canada 11, Germany 2 — Connor Bedard scored a natural hat trick and had seven points in Canada’s first win in Group A at Scotiabank Centre.

Bedard, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, tied the team record for most points in a World Junior Championship game (Dave Andreychuk against Norway, Jan. 4, 1983; Brenden Morrow against Kazakhstan, Jan. 2, 1999; Mike Cammalleri against France, Dec. 25, 2001; Gabriel Bourque against Latvia, Dec. 26, 2009).

“I think it’s cool, there’s obviously some pretty good names on that list,” Bedard said. “But it’s good to get the win and I got a couple pretty lucky ones, so it was just one of those nights.”

Dylan Guenther (Arizona Coyotes) scored three power-play goals, Logan Stankoven (Dallas Stars) had a goal and two assists, and Shane Wright (Seattle Kraken) and Joshua Roy (Montreal Canadiens) each had a goal and an assist, and Olen Zellweger (Anaheim Ducks) had three assists for Canada (1-0-0-1).

“We started the game right away from the first puck drop,” Wright said. “We were really solid and getting in on the forecheck and we were playing good defensively as well. That was definitely something we wanted to clean up, and I’m just really happy with the effort.”

Bedard made it 3-1 at 17:26 of the first period and extended the lead to 5-1 on goals at 1:02 and 13:57 of the second period.

Canada rebounded after losing 5-2 to Czechia on Monday.

Roman Kechter and Philip Sinn scored for Germany (0-0-0-2).

Canada next plays Austria on Thursday (6:30 p.m. ET). Germany plays Austria on Friday (4 p.m. ET).

Slovakia 6, United States 3 — Slovakia scored three goals in a span of 3:19 of the second period for its first win in Group B at Avenir Centre.

Peter Repcik had a goal and an assist, and Simon Nemec (New Jersey Devils) had three assists for Slovakia (1-0-0-1). It was Slovakia’s first win against the United States in the World Juniors since a 3-2 preliminary-round victory on Dec. 28, 2017; the U.S. won eight of the previous nine games.

“It was a great performance by every single player,” Simon Nemec said. “A great performance by our goalie; he was great. We are all very happy.”

Tyler Boucher (Ottawa Senators) scored twice, and Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia Flyers) had two assists for the U.S. (1-0-0-1).

“I just think in general we played too loose and were giving up too many odd-man rushes,” U.S. coach Rand Pecknold said. “We’re nonchalant about defending and we need to get better. We found a way to win on Monday (5-2 against Latvia) and did not tonight. I thought their goaltender was outstanding; he was the best player on the ice, but that’s the game of hockey. We got to defend better and be in a better mode to win games 2-1 and 3-2.”

Libor Nemec gave Slovakia a 1-0 lead at 2:14 of the first period on a shot from the slot.

Boucher scored a power-play goal to tie it 1-1 at 4:42 before Gavin Brindley (2023 draft eligible) gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead at 6:48 on a deflection from the slot.

Slovakia scored three goals on 10 shots in the second period. Dalibor Dvorsky (2023) scored a power-play goal on a shot from the point for a 2-2 tie at 11:01; Robert Baco made it 3-2 on a shot from the right face-off circle at 11:48; and Filip Mesar (Montreal Canadiens) pushed it to 4-2 on a shot from the slot at 13:20.

U.S. forward Kenny Connors (Los Angeles Kings) received a game misconduct for boarding Slovakia defenseman David Natny at 17:34 of the second. Natny (2023) did not return to the game.

Repcik made it 5-2 when his breakaway deflected off the skate of U.S. defenseman Luke Hughes (Devils) at 10:46 of the third period.
Boucher scored a power-play goal with the goalie pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage at 15:08 to make it 5-3.

Alex Ciernik (2023 eligible) scored into an empty net for the 6-3 final at 18:53.

Slovakia next plays Latvia on Friday (1:30 p.m. ET). The United States plays Switzerland on Thursday (4 p.m. ET). deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman contributed to this report

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