We’re down to the final four at the 2022 World Junior Championships in Edmonton, and Canada is looking to punch their ticket to Saturday’s Gold Medal match as they take on Czechia this afternoon. The winner of this one will face either Finland or Sweden, as those bitter rivals meet in the other Semi Final matchup later today,
It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Czechs, who rebounded from a shocking loss to Latvia with the upset of the tournament so far, a 4-2 Quarter Finals win over the USA on Wednesday night, spoiling the Americans hopes of a battle for Gold against Canada. And while things appear to be set for a shot at gold on home ice, as we saw in the Quarter Finals, you cannot take this Czech team lightly,
There’s still no word on the status of Canadian C Ridley Greig. The Ottawa Senators draft pick has been Canada’s best player in this tournament, in a shut down role against other teams’ top lines as well as his work on special teams. Greig didn’t practice yesterday, but it seems unlikely he’ll be good to go after leaving the game in that 6-3 Quarter Final win over Switzerland on Wednesday.
Mason MacTavish will replace Greig on that line, while Nathan Gaucher will move up to replace MacTavish on the line with Connor Bedard and Will Cuylle. Riley Kidney will step into the lineup as the 13th forward to take Gaucher’s spot.
Dylan Garand will be in the crease for Canada again today, facing a foe from the WHL, as the Czechs will hope Tomas Suhanec of the Tri-City Americans has another upset in him against the Canadians and the Kamloops Blazers goalie,
Speaking of the Blazers, Canada will hope to get another big game out of Logan Stankoven today. The reigning WHL Player Of The Year was a force against the Swiss on Wednesday, and with Greig out, they’ll need another big effort not just from Stankoven but across the board.
There’s a battle of Canucks prospects in the other game today, as Finland’s Joni Jurmo and Sweden’s Jonathan Lekkerimaki will meet before heading off to be teammates at this year’s prospects camp.
The Finns cruised to the Semis via a 5-2 win over Germany, while the Swedes nearly became the second victim of that Cinderella Latvian squad, needing a 3rd period goal to escape with a 2-1 win and a meeting with Finland.