Aside from the obvious storylines like Canada’s gold and the collapse by the American team, there were few things more exciting about the World Junior Championship than the inspiring play of Slovakian goaltender Denis Godla.
Now, back in his native Slovakia, Godla made his professional debut. And while it wasn’t a win, the 19-year-old netminder made a pair of spectacular saves that are reminiscent of the WJC.
The first stop is an incredible push off to get the right pad on what could have been a wide-open net, and he followed that up with a save that took some incredible tracking of the puck as it went across the ice on a 4-on-3.
Though Godla suited up for one game in the 2013-14 season for HC Slovan Bratislava, he didn’t actually see game action. The 2-0 loss likely isn’t the way Godla pictured starting his pro career, but if his play at the WJC is any indication, the young goaltender will be just fine.
Godla was voted the tournament’s most valuable player, the best goaltender, and helped Slovakia take home the bronze medal. The list of tournament MVPs, which includes Marc-Andre Fleury, Carey Price, and John Gibson, should give the 2015 draft eligible Godla some hope that, should he wish to move on from the KHL, it won’t be the only option available to him in the future.