Canada defeats the Czechs 5-2 to play Finland for World Junior Hockey Gold


Canada will play for gold at the Ice Hockey World Junior Championships after beating the Czech Republic 5-2 in the semifinals on Friday.

Kent Johnson had a goal and two assists for the undefeated Canadians (6-0-0) while Logan Stankoven contributed one each. Connor Bedard, Mason McTavish and Joshua Roy also scored and Olen Zellweger added three helpers.

Midway through the third period, Jan Mysak brought on Czechia – the country commonly known as the Czech Republic – and later added an assist to David Jiricek’s power play record in the frame. Jiri Kulich helped with both goals.

Dylan Garand stopped 31 of 33 shots for Canada, who won silver at the 2021 tournament.

Goalie Tomas Suchanek made 22 saves for the Czech Republic (2-3-1) before being replaced by Pavel Cajan early in the third period. Cajan stopped eight shots with relief.

Canada will face either Finland (4-1-0) or Sweden (4-1-0) in Saturday’s gold medal match. The two teams will face each other in the second semi-final on Friday.

The Czech Republic clinched a mighty 4-2 win over the reigning American champions in Wednesday’s quarter-finals. Canada secured their place in the semifinals on the same day with a 6-3 win over Switzerland.

The Canadians restored their three-goal lead with 5:34 on the clock when Roy swept a low shot through Cajan’s pads.

The Czech Republic had reduced the deficit to 4:2 with a 12:44 power play equalizer in the third.

Jiricek unleashed a long bomb from inside the blue line, sailing the puck through traffic and hitting Garand with the glove side.

The Czechs came on the board midway through the third period when Mysak scored his fifth goal of the tournament with a shot through the Canadian keeper.

To gain some ground in the final third, the Czech Republic replaced Suchanek with Cajan, who came from the second break.

Canada’s second power play goal of the day came in second at 16:21 after Czech Stepan Nemec was called on to bat.

McTavish capitalized and uncorked a one-timer from the faceoff circle that went off the bar and extended Canada’s lead to 4-0.

McTavish leads the tournament with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists).

A penalty for too many men also cost the Czechs in the second.

With Czech striker Tomas Urban in the box, Johnson took a loose puck over the boards and sliced ​​it across the ice to Stankoven for a breakaway.

The Kamloops Blazers forward took a few steps, then fired past Suchanek from the diamond to give Canada a 3-0 lead after 11:28.

Canada was 2-3 on Friday’s power play while the Czech Republic won 1-2.

The Czechs came into the second game with renewed enthusiasm, beating the Canadians 8-0 in the first five minutes of the period.

Garand was forced to make a solid 3:55 save in the frame after a defensive collapse gave Czech Jakub Kos a prime opportunity in tight situations.

Canada went into the first break with a 2-0 lead after Bedard prevented the country’s second goal of the day late in the opening period.

Nathan Gaucher sliced ​​the puck through the neutral zone and sent the 17-year-old phenom to the break. Bedard ended the game with a smashing shot past Suchanek’s glove side, giving the hosts a 2-0 cushion 15-20 into the game.

The goal was Bedard’s fourth of the tournament.

Suchanek made a brilliant jump stop on Tyson Foerster’s backhand shot midway through the first to keep the game scoreless.

The Czech keeper couldn’t pass the puck, however, and Johnson wasted no time firing it from the top of the circle at 10:04 into the opening frame.

Johnson has two goals in the tournament – both against the Czechs.

Sweden (4-2-0) and Finland battled their way through a goalless first period on Friday before Finnish defender Kasper Puutio blasted into the second period with a power play goal to make it 5:18.

The Swedes had the best opportunity to equalize late in the frame when two consecutive penalties left the Finns with two men for more than 90 seconds but couldn’t get a puck past goalkeeper Juha Jatkola.

Jatkola stopped all 23 shots he faced during the game and Jesper Wallstedt had 27 saves for Sweden.

Sweden meets the Czech Republic in the bronze medal match on Saturday.

REMARKS: Canada were without striker Ridly Greig, who suffered an apparent shoulder injury early in the quarter-final win over Switzerland. Riley Kidney returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for four straight games. | Canada beat the Czech Republic 5-1 in the preliminary round. | The Czech Republic have not won a medal at the World Juniors since 2005, when they took home bronze.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 19, 2022.