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
“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
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
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.