They got here in very different ways, but the two best teams in Group A will meet tonight in Edmonton for gold at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships. They’ve met a number of times at the Men’s Worlds, but this is the first time they’ve battled for gold at the U20’s.
Canada, who won gold in 2020, then lost in 2021 to the USA, advanced to tonight’s game with a 5-2 victory over Czechia. The line of Logan Stankoven, Kent Johnson and Tyson Foerster were dominant again this one, combining for 2 goals and 4 assists. They also got another solid outing from Stankoven’s Kamloops Blazers teammate Dylan Garand, who stopped 30 of 32 Czech shots. Garand is the only player on Canada’s roster that was part of the team that won silver in 2021.
The Finns advanced with a gritty 1-0 win over their bitter rivals from Sweden. These teams met on the last day of the Group A round robin, with Canada handing Finland a 6-3 loss, so you know they’ll be ready to try and correct the mistakes they made in that game on Monday night.
Right now as I write this, Sweden is taking on Czechia for the bronze medal, as Vancouver Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimaki and his Tre Kronar teammates look to rebound from that heartbreaking loss to the Finns and go home with a medal.