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World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Czechia

Sunday, December 26 | 5 p.m. MT | Edmonton, Alberta | Preliminary Round

December 26, 2021
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GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. CZECHIA (DEC. 26)

TV: TSN | Radio: TSN Radio | Stream: TSN Direct

It’s Boxing Day, which means the start of preliminary-round play at the IIHF World Junior Championship! Canada’s National Junior Team gets its quest for a 19th gold medal started against Czechia.

LAST GAME

Canada had a dominant start in its lone pre-tournament game on Thursday night, scoring four goals in the first period and riding that lead to a 6-4 win over Russia. Mason McTavish led Canada with two goals—including the opening goal and the game-winner—and added an assist on Kent Johnson’s goal in the first period. Ridly Greig, Lukas Cormier and Connor Bedard also found the back of the net for the Canadians.

Czechia was originally planned to play Switzerland in pre-tournament action, but the game was cancelled just hours before puck drop due to COVID-19 protocols.

LAST MEETING

The two teams faced off in a quarterfinal showdown in Edmonton almost one year ago, and a strong first period from Canada led to a 3-0 victory. Connor McMichael opened and closed the scoring, sandwiched around a Bowen Byram goal, and Devon Levi stopped all shots he faced for his second shutout of the tournament.

WHAT TO WATCH

Despite its strong start, Canada ran into penalty trouble in the second period, giving the Russians four power plays during the middle frame. Russia capitalized twice with the man advantage and made things interesting. Look for Canada to try to clean up its game as the preliminary round begins. Up front, Canada’s second line of McTavish, Johnson and Mavrik Bourque had an excellent showing, combining for seven points against the Russians. Look for that trio to be key against the Czechs.

Although Czechia did not have an opportunity to play a pre-tournament game, it will have seven returning players back from 2021. Included in that group are captain Jan Mysak and Pavel Novak, who were two of the top three scores for the Czechs last year (Mysak notched two goals and assist, Novak registered one goal and two assists). Look for Czechia to rely on Mysak, Novak and Michal Gut to try to spark the offence as its World Juniors journey begins.

NEW NAME

As of November 2021, the Czech Ice Hockey Association will be using the one-word name “Česko” (Czechia) on its jerseys instead of the Czech Republic. The change will affect all men’s, women’s, youth and para ice hockey teams except for the Olympic and Paralympic tournaments.

The Czech cabinet officially approved the name Czechia in April 2014, three years after the country’s president, Milos Zeman, recommended a wider use of the name that was first adopted in 1993.

A LOOK BACK

As Czechoslovakia (1977-92), the Czech/Slovak Republics (1993) and Czech Republic (1994-present), the Canadians have faced the Czechs 36 times since the first IIHF World Junior Championship in 1977, fashioning a 21-7-8 (W-L-T) record.

Against the Czech Republic (now Czechia), Canada has lost just a single game in 19 tries since 1994, and none in regulation time. That includes the aforementioned quarterfinal win last year, a 7-2 semifinal victory in 2018, and a 5-3 quarterfinal triumph a year earlier.

All-time record: Canada leads 17-1-2 (Czechia leads 1-0 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 97
Czechia goals: 33

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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