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2024 wjc can cze jan 2

World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Czechia

Tuesday, January 2 | 8:30 a.m. ET | Gothenburg, Sweden | Quarterfinal

January 1, 2024
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GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. CZECHIA (JAN. 2)

Canada’s National Junior Team looks to start 2024 off on the right note when it takes on Czechia in a quarterfinal matchup Tuesday at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Last Game 

Canada doubled up Germany 6-3 to close out the preliminary round on Sunday, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to break open a close game. Macklin Celebrini scored twice, and Owen Beck, Easton Cowan, Jordan Dumais and Brayden Yager chipped in with a goal apiece to help Canada clinch second place in Group A and end 2023 on a high note.

Czechia took down Switzerland 4-2 in its preliminary-round finale Sunday, wrapping up third place in Group B. Juri Kulich, Matyas Melovsky and Ondrej Becher had two points apiece, while Michael Hrabal stopped 17 of 19 shots in the win.

 
Last Meeting 

Canada took home the gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, downing Czechia 3-2 in overtime in an absolute thriller in Halifax. After the Canadians took a two-goal lead into the third period, Czechia scored twice in 54 seconds to tie the game and force an extra frame. Dylan Guenther was the hero for Canada, finishing a give-and-go with Joshua Roy for the golden goal 6:22 into the overtime.

What to Watch 

Macklin Celebrini. He’s been the talk of the town, and rightfully so. The 17-year-old continues to show his offensive prowess and why he’s so important to Canada. In all three preliminary-round wins for the Canadians, Celebrini found the scoresheet. He finished the preliminary round tied with American Gavin Brindley for second in tournament scoring with eight points, just one behind Slovakia’s Servac Petrovsky. Furthermore, the Vancouver native has seen his ice time increase and has moved up to the top line — in Canada’s win over Germany, Celebrini had 19:27 of ice time, the most for him so far this tournament, and ended the game with two goals and eight shots.

Jiri Kulich, Matyas Melovsky and Eduard Sale have powered the Czechs to the quarterfinals — Kulich (4-3—7) and Melovsky (0-7—7) finished the prelims with seven points apiece, while Sale (3-2—5) finished with five. While this may not be the same Czech team that Canada faced in the gold medal game a year ago, there are nearly a dozen returnees. The Czechs also have 11 players, currently playing in the CHL, including Adam Zidlicky (Mississauga, OHL), who is the son of former NHLer Marek Zidlicky. On a side note: Kulich is playing in his third World Juniors and set the Czech record for career goals (13) in the post-Czechoslovakia era on Sunday.

A Look Back 

Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, Canada and Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic) have faced each other 24 times at the World Juniors, with the Canadians claiming victory in 21 of those meetings.

This will be the third time the teams have met in the quarterfinals; Julien Gauthier scored twice in the third period as Canada pulled away for a 5-3 win in 2017, and Devon Levi posted a 29-save shutout in a 3-0 win inside the Edmonton bubble in 2021.

All-time record: Canada leads 21-2-2 (1-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 118
Czechia goals: 45

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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