Bedard sets 5 records, posts OT winner to lead Canada to world junior semifinals

Canada is off to the semifinals at the world junior hockey championship. Connor Bedard scored at 5:17 of overtime on an incredible individual effort as the tournament hosts defeated Slovakia 4-3 on Monday in Halifax.

17-year-old phenom beats Slovakian goalie on incredible individual effort

A Canadian hockey player wearing black uniform guides the puck into the net after beating the Slovakian goaltender, seen not able to cover the net in the right side of the picture. A Slovakian defender is also seen in front of the goal but behind the Canadian player.
Connor Bedard, middle, beats Slovakian goalie Adam Gajan in overtime, lifting Canada to a 4-3 quarterfinal win on Monday at the world junior hockey championship in Halifax. The Canadians face the United States on Wednesday night. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Connor Bedard made one opponent miss.

And another. And another.

The breathtaking 17-year-old then calmly slid the puck home to set off wild celebrations and send his country to the semifinals at the world junior hockey championship.

Bedard scored at 5:17 of overtime on a brilliant, jaw-dropping individual effort Monday as the tournament hosts defeated Slovakia 4-3.

WATCH l Bedard scores OT winner in historic performance:

Connor Bedard punches Canada's ticket to world junior semifinals with dazzling winner against Slovakia

5 months ago
Duration 2:24
On a historic night for the youngster, Connor Bedard scored in overtime to propel Canada to a 4-3 victory. Canada will play the United States in the semifinals.

The extraordinary talent deked his way past three Slovaks before backhanding his eighth goal of the event to blow the roof off a red-clad Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.

"I always want the puck," Bedard said. "It's still hockey, I'm still out there doing what I love. The moment's big. But I've done that same move, I've done the same shot I took a million times in my basement in practice, by myself on the ice.

"I'm out there playing hockey."

At an absolutely astounding level.

"I'm kind of calling for it," Canadian defenceman Brandt Clarke said of the highlight-reel OT sequence. "But I see him burn the first guy, see him burn the second guy, see him burn the third guy and then go to the backhand on the goalie.

Bedard also scored early in the first — setting four records in the process — before adding an assist on Canada's second goal to establish another national mark.

"It's hard to describe what he means for our team," said goaltender Thomas Milic, who made 24 saves, including a couple huge stops to keep his team alive. "It's almost like he's pressing random buttons on the Xbox controller coming up with some of these dangles. You never know what he's going to do next. He keeps surprising."

"I think [Bedard's] from another world," said Slovak captain Simon Nemec.

Dylan Guenther and Zack Ostapchuk provided the rest of the offence for the Canadians, who will face the United States on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET after the Americans thumped Germany 11-1 on Monday.

WATCH l Bedard sets 3 Canadian records with 1 goal:

Connor Bedard sets multitude of Canadian world junior records

5 months ago
Duration 1:01
With a 1st period goal against Slovakia, the 17-year-old phenom set the record for most career points by a Canadian with 32, the most career goals by a Canadian with 15 and the most points in a single tournament by a Canadian with 19.

Libor Nemec, with two, and Robert Baco replied for Slovakia, which got 53 stops from Adam Gajan.

"Played a great game," Simon Nemec said. "Best game in the tournament."

Czechia trounced Switzerland 9-1 to set up the other semifinal against Sweden on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Swedes beat Finland 3-2 to open play Monday.

I thought it went in. I was about to start crying on the bench ... I was so scared.— Canadian forward Connor Bedard on Slovakia scoring chance late in regulation

With Simon Nemec off in the penalty box for a cross-check on Bedard late in the third, Shane Wright hit the crossbar in overtime on a shot that went off Gajan's pad.

Milic then made a terrific glove stop on Servac Petrovsky to keep his team alive before Bedard added his name to Canada's world junior lore.

"I thought it went in," Bedard said of the Petrovsky chance. "I was about to start crying on the bench. That was ridiculous. I was so scared."

The presumptive top pick at the 2023 NHL draft, Bedard opened the scoring just over six minutes into the first on a breakaway after Slovak defenceman Pavol Funtek turned the puck over.

That pushed the centre for the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats past Eric Lindros for top stop on Canada's all-time list with 34 points at the men's under-20 event.

The North Vancouver, B.C., product has also passed Jordan Eberle for the most combined goals at the world juniors by a Canadian with 16.

Canada went up 2-0 on a power play with five minutes gone in the second when Bedard found Othmann, who in turn fed a falling Guenther.

'I want another gold medal'

Bedard set a new record for the most points by a Canadian in a single tournament with 21, owns the national mark with 13 assists at a single event, and passed Jaromir Jagr for the most points by a player aged 18 or younger.

"I'm not focused on personal success here," said Bedard, who topped the podium with Canada in the summer. "I want another gold medal, and that's all I want."

WATCH l Bedard among Canada's best-ever world junior players:

Connor Bedard smashes Canadian World Juniors record

5 months ago
Duration 2:00
17-year-old Connor Bedard has made history as one of the best Canadian World Juniors players ever, breaking multiple records in Monday’s game against Slovakia. The budding superstar is projected to be the first pick in next year’s NHL draft.

The Slovaks came off the mat and responded on a power play of their own when Nemec tipped in a point shot.

Canada restored its two-goal lead just over three minutes later when Ostapchuk fired past Gajan's blocker on a 3-on-1 break.

But Slovakia got back to within one when Peter Repcik showed great patience to find Baco for his second.

Canada hit two posts early in the third period before Milic made an incredible stop on a mad scramble off Adam Sykora, shooting out a pad before Canadian defenceman Tyson Hinds stopped the followup attempt with his glove.

"Incredible atmosphere," Milic said. "Bit of a roller-coaster."

But Nemec scored his second of the game moments later with under nine minutes to go on Milic's doorstep after an icing to make it 3-3.

Bedard had a terrific chance to put Canada ahead late in the third, but Funtek blocked his effort.

In the end, however, the phenom wouldn't be denied.

"That's what he does," Wright said. "Stepped up when he needed to. Big-time player, big-time game."

And the Americans are up next.

"What else is better? What else do you want?" Bedard said of the mouth-watering matchup. "Something that everyone in the country, everyone on the continent is going to be pretty excited about.

"There's no better situation."

There's also no one better than Bedard.

WATCH | Bedard shines against Sweden to end preliminary round:

Connor Bedard ties pair of Canadian records in win over Sweden

5 months ago
Duration 1:42
Bedard is re-writing Canada's record book as he notches three assists in the 5-1 victory.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now