Teammates amazed by Milic in quarterfinal win

As has been the norm this tournament, Connor Bedard stole the headlines Monday with his incredible overtime winner that sent Canada into the semi-finals of the 2023 World Juniors.

But the 24-save performance of Thomas Milic shouldn’t be lost. And it’s not going to be.

“We don’t get there without Thomas,” head coach Dennis Williams said. “He was lights out. Made some key saves in overtime. Some big time saves in the third … I thought he was dynamite tonight.”

There was no bigger save than his spectacular double-save in overtime to stop Slovakia’s Servac Petrovsky. He made an initial left pad save as Petrovsky tipped Filip Mesar’s shot but on the rebound stretched with his left glove to deny the Owen Sound Attack forward the game-winner.

“It was a bit of wonky puck so I don’t think he had full strength on it so I was a bit lucky there,” Milic said post-game. “Just being ready at any moment, at the start of the game or in overtime, I did whatever I could to help the team win.”

“I thought it went in,” Bedard confessed. “I was about to start crying on the bench. That was ridiculous. I didn’t know until the crowd reacted. I was so scared. He’s unbelievable.”

The Seattle Thunderbirds netminder has taken Canada’s crease and made it his own this tournament. He didn’t start Canada’s opening night defeat to Czechia, although he did enter the game in relief of Benjamin Gaudreau. He started Canada’s victory over Germany but backed up Gaudreau against Austria. However, he got the nod against Sweden and hasn’t relinquished the net since.

All in all, Milic is 3-0-0 with a 1.68 GAA and a .921 save percentage in four games.

“He was unreal tonight,” captain Shane Wright said. “Some of those saves were unbelievable and kept us in the game. Some of those saves saved our tournament. That one in overtime, I don’t even know how he stretched out that far to make that save. He didn’t get fazed at all.”

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