Canada cruises past Czechia to advance to gold-medal game
Canada is off to the gold-medal game of the World Junior Hockey Championship for the third year in a row after defeating Czechia 5-2 in the semifinal Friday.
The Canadians will play Finland in the final at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. Canada got the better of Suomi 6-3 on Monday during the round robin.
Forward Kent Johnson and defenseman Olen Zellweger were Canada's offensive catalysts, producing three points each. In fact, Zellweger's 10 points are tied for third most in a single tournament by a Canadian blue-liner, trailing only Alex Pietrangelo (12 in 2010) and Bryan McCabe (12 in 1995).
Dylan Garand was excellent in goal, making 30 saves on 32 shots.
Canada jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring two goals in each of the opening two periods. Johnson, Connor Bedard, Logan Stankoven, and Mason McTavish all registered tallies. Czechia cut the lead in half after Jan Mysak and Michal Gut scored a pair of goals in the third period, but Joshua Roy added another tally for Canada shortly thereafter to put the icing on the cake.
The Canadians are seeking their 19th gold medal in tournament history. They took home silver in 2021 after losing to the United States.
Czechia, meanwhile, will try to secure its first medal in the tournament since winning bronze back in 2005.