Connor Bedard sends Canada into the semi-finals of the World Juniors with a sensational OT goal

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What a game. What a goal. Team Canada advanced to the semifinals at the World Juniors in Halifax after a thrilling overtime win over Slovakia in the Quarter Finals.

Connor Bedard was the hero for Canada, scoring a sensational OT winner on 5-17 three-on-three overtime. The 17-year-old dribbled past Slovakia’s three outfield players and then through the goalkeeper to bury the winner.

Bedard had 10 shots on target in the game, including five in overtime.

The goal was Bedard’s second of the game. The North Vancouver native scored the game’s first goal 6:07 into the first period. This goal broke three Canadian junior world records, including most career goals (15), most career points (32), and most most points in a single tournament (19).

Bedard also stopped Dylan Guenther’s power-play goal that gave Canada a 2-0 lead.

Canada had a wide shot advantage (57-27) but the downtrodden Slovakian team refused to go away. Slovakian Libor Nemec scored the first of his two goals in the second half, cutting Canada’s lead in half.

Zack Opstapchuk’s goal made it 3-1 for Canada, but Robert Baco responded quickly for Slovakia before the end of the second period. Nemec equalized for Slovakia with less than eight minutes remaining in a nervy third period for Canada.

Slovakian goalkeeper Adam Gajan made 53 saves in the game.

Canada controlled most of the game in overtime but needed a glove save against a rebound by goalkeeper Thomas Milic to keep their gold medal dream alive.

“Connor is just something special. I mean, he put on a show,” Canadian forward Brennan Othmann, who had an assist in the game, said in a postgame interview with TSN.

“It’s so exciting,” added Othmann when asked about the atmosphere at extra time. “You can hear the fans and the audiences getting involved, it’s definitely something special. I’ve never seen anything like it… It’s a pleasure to play at this level for Team Canada.”

The USA will be Canada’s opponents in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT. In the other semi-final, the Czech Republic plays against Sweden.

The United States beat Germany 11-1 earlier in the day. Other quarter-final results include a 3-2 win for Sweden over Finland and a 9-1 win for the Czech Republic over Switzerland.

The gold medal game is on Thursday.

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