BRATISLAVA – Following a disappointing 8-2 loss to the Americans, Team Canada were looking to regain their confidence in their final game of group play. The Canadians found themselves in yet another chippy match up, and could not seem to get things together, as they would fall to the Host’s Slovakia in a wild one, by a score of 9-8.
After a quick powerplay goal from Brett Bulmer to open the first period, the Slovaks would rush to 2 goals of their own to gain a 2-1 lead by the end of the opening frame. Kade Vilio would shortly tie the game to start the second, however unable to capitalize on quality scoring chances to regain the lead, the Slovaks would make Canada pay by scoring 3 unanswered goals, including a goal scored with one second left in the first half.
Looking to claw their way back, Canada would continue their trend of scoring early to open a period, this time from Chris Rauckman. But, once again Slovakia would shut down the attempted comeback by tallying three straight, ultimately chasing goalie Brett Leggat.
With Coach Jason Stephens looking for a spark from his team, Stephens would pull Leggat and replace with London Ontario’s Paul Town. With Town in net, Canada would quickly answer with two goals from Kyle Henderson and James Isaacs to cut their lead to 2.
With a double-minor high-sticking call going to the Slovaks, this was Canada’s opportunity to cut the lead to one. Due to the strong play of Vladimir Neumann, the Canadians were once again unable to capitalize on the powerplay, which led to another goal from Slovakia, which would end up being the game-winning goal.
Following that 9th goal, Canada would answer back with two of their own from Thomas Woods, and Dave Hammond to cut it into a one goal game, however it was too late, as they would be upset by Slovakia by a score of 9-8.
With the loss to Slovakia, Canada finishes third in Group A and will play the second place finisher in Group B. With a Finland win against the Swedes in the final game of the preliminaries, Canada will play the Czech Republic, however with a regulation victory from the Swedes, the Red and White would have a date with the Fins, in what would be a rematch of the 2015 finals. The quarter-final match up, no matter who the opponent would be, is scheduled to be played on Thursday June 29th, 10 AM EST.
-Former NHLer and Current KHL player Filip Novak led the way for Slovaks, scoring 2 goals with 1 assist.
-Paul Town came in relief for Brett Leggat, who struggled today. Town won Player of the Game for Canada.
-The Canadians dominated in the shot category, as they peppered the net with 43 shots, to the Slovakian’s 24 shots.