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GAME DAY OPEN THREAD: IIHF 2020 World U20: CAN/CZE

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For Canada, it’s simple: win the game, and win the division.

Czech Republic v Canada: Semifinals - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

They were looking to regroup after a devastating loss, and they did so in fine fashion yesterday with a 4-1 win over Germany. So now Team Canada, who looked so utterly lost Saturday in that blowout loss to the Russians find themselves poised to emerge from the division and a match against Slovakia in the medal round with a win over the host Czech Republic today. A regulation loss, and thanks to the Russians stomping the Germans, and they’ll fall to 4th, and that would likely mean the high-flying Swedes.

Joel Hofer was the big story yesterday for Canada, as the Portland Winterhawks goalie stopped 18 of 19 German shots en route to the win. He looks like he’ll go back to back today, and they’ll get Joe Veleno back in the lineup today after serving a one game suspension for a headbutting incident against the Russians.

Alexis Lafrenierre is out again, but has been doing some off ice workouts, leading to speculation he could be available later in the medal round for Canada, which would be a huge boost. For now, they need to focus on the task at hand, and get that much favourable first round match against Slovakia.