Winnipeg’s Joel Hofer turned aside 17 of 18 shots Thursday morning, en route to a 6-1 Canadian victory over Slovakia from Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Team Canada captain Barrett Hayton had two goals, while Alexis Lafreniere – touted No. 1 selection in the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft – made his return from injury, netting a goal and adding an assist in the process. Brandon product Calen Addison also put up two assists on Canada’s back-end.
The Canadian National Junior Team received a scare early on as forward Nolan Foote was ejected following a check to the head of Slovakian forward Kristian Kovacik. Hofer was put to the test on the resulting five-minute major. He turned aside all six shots he faced on the power play – his busiest stretch of the game.
After Canada received goals from Barrett Hayton (X2), Connor McMichael, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Liam Foudy and Alexis Lafreniere, the Slovaks came back with a goal of their own, on a slap shot off the stick of Oliver Okuliar. The Canadians capitalized on two of their six power play opportunities, while Slovakia went 0/2. Canada outshot Slovakia 44-18.
Hofer, Addison and Team Canada will now play Finland in the Semifinal Saturday, while Sweden will play against Russia in the other Semifinal matchup. One game will be played at 8:00 AM central, while the other will be held at 12:00 noon in Czech Republic.