ICE defenceman Bodak impresses at 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship

Dan Hickling/ Hickling Images

Cranbrook, B.C. – To say ICE ’98-born defenceman Martin Bodak had a good showing at the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, New York may be an understatement.

After being named captain of the team before the tournament started, the Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia native scored three goals in five games and was also named Slovakia’s Player of the Game twice.

“It was great experience to play in the world juniors, it was my second time I play[ed] there,” explained Bodak.

As Bodak mentioned above, this wasn’t his first time representing his country at one of the most prestigious hockey competitions in the world. The 19-year-old also put on the Slovakian jersey at the 2017 event in Toronto and Montreal, scoring one goal in five games.

It was a tough start to the 2018 tournament for Bodak and his Slovakian teammates. They were given the difficult task of facing Team Canada in the opening game, a match-up Bodak said was the toughest for his squad.

“Yeah, probably the toughest game for us because Canada plays so good,” said Bodak, adding his team may have been a little intimidated facing the Canadians.

The score ended 6-0 for the red-and-white, however Bodak received Slovakia’s Player of the Game for his stellar play on the blue line.

The Slovakian’s would bounce back the following game, stunning the United States with a 3-2 victory. They would conclude the round robin with a 5-2 loss to Finland – a game in which Bodak scored his first goal of the tournament – and a 5-1 win over Denmark.

“The rest of the tournament was pretty good for us, we played really good hockey there and we showed the world that even Slovaks can play with anyone.”

Team Slovakia finished the round robin with a record of 2-0-0-2 (two wins and two regulation losses), which set up a date in the Quarterfinals against Team Sweden. With the possibility of elimination on the line, Bodak would save his most productive performance for the playoffs. The ICE defenceman scored twice in the game, which turned out to be a 3-2 defeat to the Swedes. After the game, Bodak was named Slovakia’s Player of the Game for the second time.

“I just, like, try to shoot and help my team, and Player of the Game I just play my best,” Bodak said talking about his goals and awards received during the tournament.

Not only was it an outstanding tournament for Bodak but it seemed like a homecoming of sorts for the 19 year old.

“I know almost every guy [on the team], so it was pretty nice to see every guy and I had fun there.”

Bodak is expected to be back in the ICE line-up on Saturday, January 13 when they visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

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