Canada advances to the semifinals of the World Junior Hockey

Canada advances to the semifinals of the World Junior Hockey Championship

HALIFAX | He is at a loss for words to describe what Connor Bedard is achieving at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Literally.

• Also read: Connor Bedard: The goal that would break all records…

• Also read: World Juniors: Victory for Canada, another record for Connor Bedard

The young prodigy shone once again, and the word is weak, amassed two goals and an assist, including the winning goal in Monday night’s 4-3 overtime win over Slovakia in the quarter-finals.

And he did it in the image of a young man at the top of his class.

After just over five minutes into overtime, when ECJ failed to capitalize on a power play early in the half, Bedard took matters into his own hands. The no. 16 poked fun at the three Slovakian players on the ice before finishing with a feint that goaltender Adam Gajan couldn’t hold back, sowing hysteria at a Scotiabank Center where nervousness had begun to subside after the ECJ defeated the 3 : 1 lead they had given themselves gambled away the second period.

“He’s an exceptional player,” agreed assistant coach Stéphane Julien. There are not many. There are the Crosbys, McDavids, these are players who change the look of a game with their feel and their talent. We saw him tonight, he was tired playing his game but it’s extraordinary to see that, his talent. We are very happy that he is part of the team. Fans couldn’t ask for more. A show like this with such an extraordinary player will be one I will remember for the rest of my life and I think the people who saw the game will too. »

Connor Bedard caused hysteria at the Scotiabank Center when he defeated Adam Gajan in overtime to propel Canada into the semifinals against the United States on Wednesday.

After Mason McTavish’s defensive play in the final of the last World Cup, Bedard arguably created another scene that will live in the annals for years to come.

“I played hockey but this is the best thing I’ve had in my life. I’m not a stressed type, but on the bench, in overtime, I was excited for something to happen. Bedard buzzed and buzzed and eventually, I don’t know how he did it, but he counted,” his line partner Joshua Roy summed up.

Records, records, records

It only took 6 minutes and 7 seconds for Connor Bedard to become the king of Canadian junior hockey. His goal in the first period had allowed him to break four records at once.

After an early game in which the Canadians were somewhat taken aback by the Slovaks’ aggressiveness at the forecheck, Bedard had the crowd lifted at the Scotiabank Center by defeating Gajan with a precise shot as he escaped following a pass from Logan Stankoven.

That goal allowed him to earn a 32nd career point at that event to officially break Eric Lindros’ record. His 15th career goal also allowed him to surpass Jordan Eberle’s mark of 14.

The net was also his 19th point of the tournament, another record for a Canadian player in a single competition. He also surpassed Jaromir Jagr’s total in 1990 to become the under-18 player with the most points in a tournament. Then he became an accomplice to his second goal, Dylan Guenther’s.

to break another record, most assists in a single tournament for a Canadian player, at 13.

“It’s cool for me, but what counts is the win. I want another gold medal,” said young Bedard.

And when he says he doesn’t care about records, you have to believe him, assures Roy.

“He’s humble and that’s what’s impressive about him. He’s not someone above his business. He is down to earth and respected by all players. He’s the tournament’s best player and has never talked about his points. We are very happy for him and it is certain that he will continue to do well. »

Slovak thugs

On Sunday, the Slovaks did not flinch: they confidently mentioned that they had what it takes to beat Canada and that the key is physical effort, and they did just that throughout the encounter. In the third half, their aggression forced ECJ to play heels and create many turnovers on defense. Goalkeeper Thomas Milic had to outdo himself several times to keep his team in the game.

“We won’t go there without Milic on the net,” admitted head coach Dennis Williams.

In extra time, the 19-year-old goalkeeper made a real steal with the glove and saved the tie.

“I thought the puck was in the net,” Bedard said. I almost cried on the bench. I didn’t know he made the save until I heard the crowd’s reaction. I was so scared God thank you he’s amazing. »

The Canadian goalkeeper’s brilliance eventually allowed Bedard to play the heroes against the Slovaks, who have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

“We can play with him if we play tight. He still scored the winning goal. He’s from another planet,” could only tell Slovakia captain Simon Nemec, who was on the ice when Bedard ended the debate.

The no. 16 Canadians now have 21 points in five games since the competition began.

Against the United States

Junior Team Canada now meets the USA in the semi-finals on Wednesday. The latter defeated Germany 11-1 yesterday in a game presented at the Avenir Center in Moncton.

The last time the two teams met in the semifinals was in 2007, when Canada and Carey Price won 2-1 in a historic penalty shootout.

“What’s better than that?” What more do you want? Everyone in the country and even the continent will be very excited as this game draws near. There is no better situation,” added Bedard.

The other semi-final meets the Czech Republic and Sweden.