Martin Bodak (middle) was named one of Slovakia’s three top players of the tournament, along with goaltender Roman Durny and forward Samuel Bucek.

Kootenay Ice defenceman Martin Bodak impresses for Slovakia at World Juniors

Team ousted by Sweden in quarterfinals of tournament but captain named one nation’s three MVPs

The Kootenay Ice may have missed Martin Bodak over the past three weeks, but the 19-year-old defenceman certainly made the most of his experience at the World Juniors.

Leading Slovakia as their team captain at the Buffalo, New York tournament, Bodak proved himself to be one of the top young blueliners in the world. Scoring three goals in five games while logging big minutes, he finished as one of his nation’s three MVPs.

Bodak competed in the World Juniors in 2017, scoring a single goal in five games, and his return appearance helped Slovakia to a slightly better result than last time around.

While the team started the tournament by losing 6-0 to Canada on December 27, he was named his team’s MVP of the game, and the next day Slovakia pulled off an improbable 3-2 regulation win over the host American squad.

Two days later, the Slovaks lost 5-3 to Finland but Bodak picked up a great goal in the second period, jumping into a rush and firing a set up from Alex Tamasi through the goaltender’s legs.

Earning a quarterfinal berth after routing Denmark 5-1 to end the round robin, Bodak nearly led Slovakia to a huge upset against Sweden.

Despite getting down 2-0 early in the second period, Bodak converted on a power play with a perfect wrist shot through traffic from the top of the right circle to rally Slovakia at the end of the frame.

In the third period, while down 3-1, he scored his second of the night, finishing a two-on-one rush with Milos Kelemen.

Unfortunately for Bodak and Slovakia, the Swedes managed to hold on to their 3-2 lead and knocked them out of the tournament for a second straight year. Having had a better round-robin than in 2017, however, the team placed seventh overall, one spot higher than the previous year.

Bodak was named the ‘Player of the Game’ for Slovakia in the knockout match, and was also one of their three stars at the end of the tournament along with goalie Roman Durny and forward Samuel Bucek.

As a WHL rookie for Kootenay, Bodak has a goal and 11 assists in 30 games so far this season and should return to the Ice lineup soon. In his absence, the team has gone 4-2-0-0 but dropped their most recent effort 7-0 in Lethbridge after a lacklustre defensive effort.

While he went unselected in the NHL Entry Draft last year, the Spisska Nova Ves native should garner significant interest from the professional ranks after his impressive showing on the world stage.

The World Juniors semifinals take place tomorrow, with the USA taking on Sweden and Canada playing the Czech Republic to determine the participants of Friday’s Gold medal match.

Casey Mittelstadt, of the United States national team, led tournament scoring with 10 points in five games, while former Ice CHL Import Draft first-overall selection Klim Kostin (who did not report to Cranbrook) finished in third place with eight in as many games.

Just Posted

It happened this week in Cranbrook: 1912

Aug. 11 - 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Kootenay Orienteering Championships coming to Kimberley, Cranbrook

The championships take place from September 6 to 8, 2019.

Local rowing club comes up big at Nelson Sprints Regatta

The Rockies Rowing Club saw multiple members have positive results at the annual regatta

City gets $100K grant for improving National Disaster Mitigation Program

The City of Cranbrook successfully applied for and has been awarded a… Continue reading

Family on way to a wedding when girl, 4, killed in crash near Creston

The Alberta family was travelling through B.C. for a wedding when their RV was in a serious collision

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read