Who’s ready for some hockey? As in, some GOLD MEDAL GAME hockey?
If you answered, Me!, then you’re in luck. Tonight at 6:30pm EST is the gold medal game of a big winter tradition—the World Junior Hockey Championship. And the game is going to be a BIG one.
Canada versus Czechia.
This final match was setup by a pair of thrilling semifinal games yesterday. Czechia scored late in third period and again in overtime to overcome Sweden 2-1. Meanwhile, Canada and longtime rival The United States went toe-to-toe in a powerhouse showdown that featured remarkable goals, exceptional goaltending, and plenty of drama.
Canada and the USA is often the gold medal game in these tournaments. But the Czechs are very worthy opponents—in fact, they’ve probably been the best team all tournament.
And in this match, they present a chance for Canada to settle a score.
Big early upset
On December 26, aka Boxing Day, many Canadians gathered around their televisions and devices to watch the start of the World Juniors.
And with this year’s event being held in Canada—in the cities of Halifax and Moncton—raucous crowds of Canadian fans have been packing the arenas thrilled to cheer on their young heroes.
But this Boxing Day, those fans were in for a rude awakening. In their opening match versus Czechia, Canada was humbled 5-2. The Czechs were fast, organized, and superior in pretty much every way. The message from Czechia was clear.
We may be playing on your home turf, but we’re ready for anything.
Since then, Canada quickly righted the ship. Often thanks to young phenom Connor Bedard's record-setting 23 points so far, they have convincingly won a series of games, marching toward the championship match. (Though that quarterfinal victory over Slovakia in overtime was definitely a nail-biter!)
This team has shown what many experts were saying about them going into the tournament. They are loaded with offensive talent—including Logan Stankoven, Shane Wright, and Dylan Guenther—and can score in bunches. Since losing their opening game, they’ve scored at least four goals in every game and managed 11 goals not once but twice!
As for Czechia, they have been equally great, proving that their triumph over Canada was no fluke. Despite being seen as a bit of an underdog at the start of the World Juniors, they have ended up being the most consistent team. In particular, their defense has been remarkable, with goalie Tomas Suchanek allowing just eight goals across six games, the best mark in the tournament.
They are difficult to score against and tough to beat!
Whichever team wins this evening, one thing appears to be certain. These really are the two best teams right now and the winning players will deserve to be called champions.
We’re thrilled to watch what should be a very exciting game!
To get yourself pumped, why not watch this highlight video of all of Bedard's goals so far this tournament. (If you haven't seen his OT goal versus Slovakia yet, you're in for a treat!)