Junior Team Canada head coach Andrei Touri has repeatedly warned against underestimating the Czech Republic. Saturday’s game proved right for him.
Also read: Devon Levy’s mental challenge
Also read: Tennessee Finns in the semis
Yes, his team was able to win the quarterfinal duel with the Czechs 3-0, advancing to the semi-finals tomorrow. No, not as easy as some people think. In fact, it is not so easy.
The intensity of the Czechs and the hermetic game made it very difficult for the Canadians to form, which clearly did not show the same enthusiasm in last Thursday’s duel with Finland.
On Thursday, the ECJ set its rhythm from scratch, thanks to rivalry for persistent forward failure. On Saturday, the national team failed to reproduce the same kind of start against the Checks.
For his offensive talent, and a little er from goalkeeper Nick Malik, Andre Tourigni’s forces were able to take a 2-0 lead in the first period, thanks to goals from Dylan Cogens and Bowen Byram.
It seemed like it was going to be another arbitrary game, but the Canadians set out to create several turnovers due to the misuse of the puck takeover, putting some scoring and chances to the checks. Hope so.
In keeping with his habit since the start of the tournament, goalkeeper Devon Levy closed the doors at every opportunity.
ECJ subsequently maintained the lead, with Levy helping, and Czech coach Karel Mleznek deciding to retire with 5:34 after facing this inability to create offense.
Once again, Connor McMichael kept the Montreal goalkeeper furniture until he closed the books on the empty net. Levy finished the game with 29 saves to earn his second shutout of the tournament. He became the first Canadian goaltender after Zachary Foucault in 2015 to collect more than one shutout in the World Juniors. He has conceded just three goals in five games so far.
“I felt great and I’m excited to play my first quarter-final game. I tried to catch up and help my teammates,” Levy said on TSN’s microphone after the game.
Waiting for the opportunity
It is not yet clear who Canada will face in tomorrow’s semi – finals as the game between the United States and Slovakia begins at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
What we do know is that in the event of an American victory, the Canadians will meet the Russians on all four sides. While the Slovaks will be a big surprise, the ECJ will be competing for a place in the final.
With one goal and assist in Saturday’s victory, Dylan Cogens was the lone scorer in junior team Canada history with a total of 22 points. He is now four points from Jordan Eberle’s 26 and second in history. The 31 mark, founded by Eric Lindros between 1990 and 1992, is, however, difficult to achieve.
Cogens has scored 13 points in five games so far in this tournament.
In addition, forward Alex Newhook did not make it to the final Saturday game. Yesterday, Andrei Tourigni confirmed to Finland last Thursday that he had suffered an injury to his body and that a decision would be made about him before the match.
Defenseman Jordan Spence and goaltender Taylor Gautier have dropped two players.