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World Junior Championships

Connor Bedard’s OT Winner Sets Hockey World Ablaze

The future No.1 overall pick put his team on his shoulders and carried them into the semifinal with historic goal.

In the rare event that you were living under a rock Monday night, you missed a historic moment in World Junior Championship history performed by a player with all-time great potential.

Let’s recap. In a quarterfinal matchup featuring host nation Canada against Slovakia, the latter rallied back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period and send it into overtime. While Canada largely dominated the extra frame, it only takes one shot at either end to call a game.

After the Slovaks killed a penalty early in overtime, they were robbed on a doorstep opportunity by Canadian netminder Thomas Milic. From there on out, it was all Canada as they hit posts and were stymied by Slovakian netminder Adam Gajan as part of a 54-save effort.

However, with less than five minutes left in the three-on-three overtime, Bedard did this:

Connor Bedard’s overtime winner sends Canada to the semifinal.

The heavily favored Canadians needed their best player to step up to avoid a major upset, and Bedard delivered. The future 2023 No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft put his team on his shoulders and single-handedly sent his club into a semifinal matchup with the United States Wednesday night.

“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 by basement… in practice, by myself on the ice.

“I’m out there playing hockey.”

It appears the young man is cool as a cucumber, to boot.

Historic Night for 17-Year-Old

In a tournament usually dominated by 19-year-olds, it’s the 17-year-old Bedard who is leaving the rest of the group in his dust. The Regina Pats product leads the tournament with 21 points across just five games, 10 more than second-place Logan Cooley of the United States. His eight goals are nearly double the five scored by five others in the tournament.

Connor Bedard Team Canada goal
Connor Bedard Team Canada goal

However, Bedard is setting records left, right, and center. Bedard is now the all-time Canadian World Junior goals (15) and points (32) leader and single tournament points leader (21). He surpassed Jaromir Jagr for most points in a World Juniors by a player 18 years of age or under and could still potentially play two more games in this tournament. He doesn’t turn 18 until July 17, more than seven months from smashing these records.

While the overwhelming majority of 18-year-olds return to the tournament, this is undoubtedly his final kick at the World Juniors can. He already has one gold medal under his belt (2022) and has been a man on a mission in search of his second and final.

Next: Which NHL Clubs Fall Hard for Bedard in 2023 Draft Lottery Race

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