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).