WJC FINALS PREVIEW - GOLD MEDAL

2023-01-05 · 2 min read · IIHF World Juniors/Hockey
Czechia versus Canada

Getty Images | Darren Calabrese/CP

Gold Medal Game - Canada vs Czechia
This will be a bit of a revenge game for Canada as their only loss in the tournament so far came in the preliminary round against this Czech team, who manage to stifle them winning the game 5-2. Czechia has no shortage of motivation either. Their team's attitude was summed up by goaltender Tomas Suchanek who said, "For me, this tournament is absolutely everything, I was dreaming about this as a child to be here, and to go to the gold medal game after 22 years, it's just amazing." When it comes to style these teams are fairly different with Canada being a high-powered offence squad, keen on breakouts and pushing the pace.
Czechia is a tough defensive team focused on controlling the neutral zone and not allowing the opposing team to generate high-danger scoring chances. It's a sure bet that Czechia’s main focus will be on slowing Canada's contingent of skilled offensive players, especially likely 2023 first overall pick and current WJC scoring leader Connor Bedard. Unsurprisingly goaltending will also play a key role. As the Thomas's (or Tomas’s) Canada's Millic and Czechia Suchanek are two of the best netminders in this tournament and are both coming off outstanding semi-final performances. While Bedard has made headlines and for good reasons, the rest of Canada's talented forwards need to deliver and refuse to give up any ice; as Czechia’s physical defence and relentless forecheck will be a constant presence.
Czechia has an abundance of experience with a whopping 16 players back from the team that reached the bronze medal game last summer, including Suchanek, who has played every second in the tournament, registering a 1.30 goals-against average and .938 save percentage; even chipping in offensively with a record four assists. Feels like it has all the makings of a very tightly contested match and likely will come down to which team could force its style of play more successfully on the other.
No matter what happens it seems the gold medal game will feature an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object; trust me you don't want to miss it. Fun fact the oldest player on this Czech squad was born in 2003 meaning not a single member of this team was alive when Czechia last won a gold medal at this event in 2001.
Prediction 4-3 Canada
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By: Chase Howard

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