Canada Looks To Bounce Back After Ugly Loss To Russia

Nico Daws and Joel Hofer combined to make 34 saves, but Canada was held off the scoresheet and dropped its first game at the World Juniors, a 6-0 loss to Russia. © Andrea Cardin/HHOF-IIHF Images

Nico Daws (Burlington, Ont./Guelph, OHL) and Joel Hofer (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) combined to make 34 saves, but Canada’s National Junior Team was held off the scoresheet in a 6-0 loss to Russia on Saturday at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The Canadian defeat means all five teams in Group B – Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and the United States – have a win and loss midway through the preliminary round.

Alexander Khovanov started the scoring just 1:44 in, picking off an outlet pass at the Canadian blue-line and letting go a wrist shot that hit the blocker of Daws before popping up and over the goaltender.

Pavel Dorofyev made it 2-0 midway through the first when he found space behind the defence and roofed a backhand past Daws, and Nikita Rtishev banged in a rebound three-and-a-half minutes later for a 3-0 Russian lead after 20 minutes.

Canada picked up its offence in the second period, firing 14 shots on goal, but couldn’t find a way past Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov, who turned aside 28 shots in all to record just the fifth shutout against Canada in World Juniors history.

Nikita Alexandrov forced a change in the Canadian goal early in the middle frame when he drove down the right wing and tucked the 4-0 goal around Daws, who gave way to Hofer.

Hofer was solid in his 38 minutes of work, stopping 20 of 22 shots.

Yegor Sokolov got a piece of a shot from Yegor Zamula to make it 5-0 at 13:09 before Khovanov set up Grigori Denisenko to cap the scoring late in the middle frame.

Russia finished with a 40-28 advantage in shots on goal.


“They were very good tonight. All the teams in the tournament are good. We’ll learn from it, it’s a new day tomorrow and we’ll continue to work hard at getting better.”

  • Team Canada head coach Dale Hunter (Petrolia, Ont./London, OHL)


“They came out hungry, won the battles and got the momentum. We’ve got a great group of coaches and players, [so] we’re going to re-group and get better.”

  • Joe Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Grand Rapids, AHL)


“We need to do a better job at the start of games. We need to be ready to go when the puck drops. We’ll learn as a team and come back stronger.”

  • Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL)

The Canadians will look to bounce back Monday when they take on Germany (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).