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Team Canada beats Czech Republic, moves on to semi finals

Canada's Connor McMichael (17) celebrates a goal against Switzerland during second period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action in Edmonton on Tuesday, December 29, 2020. Team Canada moved on to the semi final rounds after defeating Czechoslovakia this afternoon, Jan. 2, 2021.
Image Credit: The Canadian Press / Jason Franson
January 02, 2021 - 6:39 PM

This year’s version of Team Canada Juniors continued to shine when it counted the most this afternoon with a 3-0 win against Czech Republic.

Team Canada took a little longer to get their first goal today, Jan. 2, but still managed to put one past Czech goalie Nick Malik before the 10 minute mark of the first period.

Team Canada came into the playoff rounds with a perfect record, outscoring their opposition 33- 4 while the Czechs had a mixed performance with two wins and two losses.

Still, it was probably Team Canada’s most challenging contest to date, with a defensive Czech Republic team that wouldn’t admit defeat in spite of being down 2-0 for most of the game.

Whitehorse native Dylan Cozens scored on a breakaway at the 8.5 minute mark of the first period, followed by Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram’s first goal in the tournament around the 12 minute mark.

Byram’s goal came just after a Team Canada power play ended, and was scored in a similar fashion to Cozens’ goal, with Malik getting a piece of it before it dribbled into the net.

The last half of the first period had Czech Republic manage several more shots on goal than Team Canada, but they failed to get anything past goalie Devon Levi.

Play was more scrambled in the second period, with both teams exchanging opportunities but failing to capitalize on their opportunities.

The Czechs did a good job of jamming up the slot area, preventing any grade A scoring chances for Team Canada.

Shots on goal were dead even after 40 minutes of play at 18 shots apiece.

Team Canada failed to find their killer instinct in the third period, matching the Czech’s play but failing to find the extra offence needed to finish them off.

Czech Republic made it interesting in the final moments, pulling the goalie with five minutes remaining. It was the most pressure they’d applied to the Canadians in the whole game, but an empty net goal by Connor McMichael with 2:49 left in the game ended much chance of a Czech comeback.

A late Czech power play with less than two minutes left failed to produce a goal.

Russia beat Germany 2-1 while Finland beat Sweden 3-1 in other games today. The U.S.A.  takes on Slovakia later this evening to end the quarter final rounds in the bubble at Edmonton’s Rogers Place Arena

It was Canada’s fifth win, and the most important one of the tournament in what was a 'win or go home' situation in today’s game.

With the win, Team Canada moves on to the semi final round on Monday.

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