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2023 IIHF World Men’s Junior Championship Finals- Canada vs Czechia

After a couple classic WJC semi final games, the battle for gold is set as the upstart Czechs try to win gold on Canadian ice against Connor Bedard and Team Canada.

United States of America v Canada: 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images


3:30 PM PST



After an OT heartbreaker that saw Team Sweden blow a lead and lose in OT, Czechia advanced to their first IIHF WJC Final since 2005. They would await the winner of the matchup that everyone looks forward to at this tournament: Canada vs the United States, and in this most legendary of rivalries, it once again did not disappoint.

First, a recap of the 2-1 OT win for the Czechs:

In a move that signified his future as a Canuck, 2022 draftee Elias Pettersson iced the puck in the last minute, with the Swedes leading 1-0. The Czechs pulled the goalie and tied it with :38 left in the third. The Czechs would go on to score in the last minute of OT to punch their ticket to the gold medal game.

In the other semi-final, Canada went up against their bitter rivals from south of the border, and it certainly didn’t look good early. Team USA’s Logan Cooley would score less than two minutes in, and the Americans looked like they were ready to spoil the party from the get go. It should be noted that this is where they lost the game, though. How, you ask? Let’s go back to the contest on Monday night, where Canada took on Slovakia.

This is Simon Nemec, blowing a kiss to the Canadian crowd after his point shot went in off Libor Nemec to make the score 2-1. This flagrant display demanded an intervention from the hockey gods, and later in overtime, Connor Bedard did their bidding.

So, let’s go to Logan Cooley now.

It’s a shame that with his hand cocked to his ear, he was unable to hear impending doom, for that was all that would await the Americans last night. The Hockey Gods suffer no fools, it would seem.

Sure, they scored another, but then you know who said enough of this nonsense, and started the comeback.

They started the second period down by one, but that wouldn’t last long, as the kid from Kamloops tied it at 2-2.

After being snake-bitten for much of the tournament, Adam Fantilli was rewarded for his relentless efforts with the goal that would stand up as the winner:

The Canadians would get goals from Brandt Clarke and a pair from Joshua Roy as part of his four point night to seal the deal and go for gold.

Today’s final is a rematch of Canada’s tournament opener, one that left many stunned as the Czechs easily handled the favoured home squad despite being outshot, putting it out of reach in the second period with two PPGs on a 5 minute Canadian penalty to Zach Dean for a hit to the head.

The game was a wake up call for Canada, which seemed to be devoid of any kind of chemistry, and from that point on evolved into a unit that has been getting better with each passing game. They’ve overcome adversity in their past two games, and now have revenge and the chance to win gold on home ice fueling them heading into tonight.

Before this one will be the bronze medal game, as Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Lekkerimaki and Team Sweden look to send the Americans home medal-less again this year. That game goes at 11:30 Pacific.