jan 02 can cze

World Juniors Recap: Canada 3, Czech Republic 0

Devon Levi was brilliant in a 29-save performance and a trio of returnees provided the offence, sending Canada to the semis

Jason La Rose
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January 2, 2021
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GAME STATS: CANADA 3, CZECH REPUBLIC 0

EDMONTON, Alta. – Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que./Northeastern University, HE) stole the show with a 29-save shutout and a trio of returnees provided the offence, sending Canada’s National Junior Team to the semifinals at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 3-0 quarterfinal win over the Czech Republic on Saturday night.

“I felt like I played well,” Levi said of his performance. “I’m just taking it day by day, shot by shot. It was a fun game. I got more shots than usual (he had faced only 63 through his first four starts), and I enjoyed that.”

Two wins from defending their gold medal, the Canadians will face either Russia or Slovakia in the semis on Monday (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT), depending on if the Slovakians can upset the United States in their quarterfinal.

Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL), Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) and Connor McMichael (Ajax, Ont./London, OHL) – all of whom helped Canada to gold a year ago in the Czech Republic – scored the goals, putting the Canadians in the final four for the 23rd time in 26 tournaments since the World Juniors went to the playoff-round format in 1996.

“A game like this, you have to be strong through adversity,” said head coach André Tourigny. “That’s what the World Juniors are all about; you don’t go through a World Juniors without going through adversity. We did good things through adversity; some stuff we need to address and need to tweak a little, but we learn from it.

Cozens and McMichael finished with a goal and an assist apiece, and Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta./Winnipeg, WHL) added two helpers.

The two points for Cozens move him out of a tie with John Tavares and into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time scoring list for Canada at the World Juniors with 22. He now sits two back of Jason Allison for fifth (24), and within striking distance of Ryan Ellis (25), and the second-place duo of Jordan Eberle and Brayden Schenn (26).

The Whitehorse product got the scoring started for the second game in a row, gathering in a long flip pass from McMichael just outside the Czech blueline and squeezing a shot through goaltender Nick Malik.

Byram doubled the advantage just over three minutes later, patiently waiting for a shooting lane to appear before he snuck a shot under the arm of Malik.

Levi was busiest in the first period when he made 12 saves, none better than a left-toe stop off a backhand by a driving Pavel Novak late in the opening frame.

The Czechs upped their physical play in the second period, laying the body on Canada at every turn, but the Canadians carried the play in the stanza, holding an 11-6 edge in shots. They couldn’t, though, solve Malik, and nursed their two-goal lead into the intermission.

“I don’t think we exactly played how we wanted to,” Byram said. “We knew how the Czechs were going to play, and that’s how they played. Physical, [they] clogged up the neutral zone, blocked a lot of shots. We definitely have to be better moving forward.”

Levi had to be sharp again in the third, as the Czechs buzzed in search of their first goal. But the Canadian puck-stopper looked calm, cool and collected every time, keeping out 11 shots in the final 20 minutes.

Malik went to the bench with more than four minutes left and the Czechs pressured for long stretches, but after Levi made four big stops in a span of less than 30 seconds, McMichael got free at the Canadian blueline and slipped the insurance marker into an empty net.

Levi’s numbers in the tournament are staggering; he lowered his goals-against average to a miniscule 0.64 and raised his save percentage to .967 with his second shutout in three games.

He has allowed only three goals in five appearances (six including the shutout win over Russia in pre-tournament play), and exactly zero of those have come at five-on-five.

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
[email protected]

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

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