2023 u18mwc can svk

U18 Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Slovakia

Sunday, April 30 | 9 a.m. ET | Basel, Switzerland | Bronze Medal Game

Jason LaRose
April 30, 2023

TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct

Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team closes out the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship on Sunday, facing off against Slovakia in search of its fourth bronze medal.

Last Game

Canada started strong in its Saturday semifinal against Sweden, taking a pair of one-goal leads in the first period through Macklin Celebrini and Angus MacDonell, but a four-goal second period for the Swedes doomed the Canadians in a 7-2 loss. Gabriel D’Aigle finished with 18 saves over the final 40 minutes in place of an injured Carson Bjarnson

The Slovaks were the latest team to fall to the high-powered Americans, dropping a 7-1 decision in their semifinal on Saturday. Dalinor Dvorsky scored to push his team-leading totals to seven goals and 12 points, while Samuel Urban and Lukas Fursten combined for 43 saves for Slovakia, which made its first semifinal appearance since 2003.

Last Meeting

The teams met a week ago in prelim play, with Macklin Celebrini’s power-play goal with 6:55 remaining standing up as the winner in a 4-3 Canadian victory. Celebrini finished with a goal and an assist and Matthew Wood had two helpers for Canada, which led 3-0 late in the second period before the Slovaks charged back in the third to make a game of it.

What to Watch

All eyes will be on the Canadian goal. Bjarnason had been terrific after his tough start to the prelims, but his first-period injury has potentially thrust D’Aigle into the spotlight with a medal on the line. The 16-year-old puck-stopper – taken No. 2 in the 2022 QMJHL Entry Draft, the highest a goaltender had been selected since 2000 – fashioned a 3.18 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in 21 appearances with Victoriaville, and backstopped Canada Red into the gold medal game at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge last fall.

It was mentioned in this space when these teams met previously, but the Slovak offence lives and dies by Dvorsky. A likely first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward has been in on 12 of the 18 goals Slovakia has scored, and had a goal and an assist against Canada in the prelims. He has joined with Juraj Pekarcik and Adam Cedzo to form one of the best lines in the tournament – the trio has combined for 13 goals and 30 points, while the other 17 Slovak skaters have five goals and 21 points among them.

A Look Back

Canada is a perfect 11-for-11 against Slovakia at the IIHF U18 World Championship, with an overtime win in 2017 the only one of those 11 to go past 60 minutes.

The Canadians and Slovaks have never faced off for bronze, but they did meet for gold in 2003; Anthony Stewart, Shawn Belle and Ryan Getzlaf scored the goals and Ryan Munce earned the shutout as Canada blanked Slovakia 3-0 to win its first-ever U18 world title.

All-time record: Canada leads 11-0 (1-0 in OT)
Canada goals: 39
Slovakia goals: 14

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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