The 2023 World Junior Championship is in the books with Canada winning the Gold Medal Again
The pre-tournament favourite Canada defeated Czechia by a score of 3-2 in overtime to win the gold medal in front of a packed house in Halifax. Dylan Guenther scored the Golden Goal for Canada.
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For the second straight year, Canada won the gold medal in overtime. It is the first time a team has repeated as gold medal champions since Canada during their run from 2005-2009.
Canda Wins Gold At the 2023 World Junior Championship
It was not easy for Canada. They had to do it the hard way again, but Canada remains on top of the hockey world with another gold medal at the World Junior Championship.
Canada took to the ice knowing what they had to do against a very good Czechia team. Again goaltender Thomas Milic had another game for the ages for the Canadians. After stopping 43 shots against the Americans the night before, Milic had to be brilliant early as Czechia through pucks on him from every angle. He has been the story of the tournament. Milic was not the starting goalie entering camp, but won the job and carried the Canadians to back-to-back gold medals.
Just like the first game of the tournament, these two teams played, Canada struck first. Dylan Guenther opened the scoring on the power play. Guenther has six goals in the tournament all of them on the power play. Team Canada’s power play is the best in the tournament operating at 46.43 percent. Czechia needed to stay out of the box as Canada has so many options with Shane Wright, Connor Bedard, and Guenther out there.
In the second the Canadians continued their dominance. However, it was Czechia goaltender Tomas Suchanek that was the story. After being crashed into early in the period, he stopped several Canadians on breakaways with Czechs on the power play. If any of those goals into the net, this game is out of hand and they are not able to mount a comeback to force overtime.
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Canada extended their lead to 2-0 when captain Shane Wright scored. Just like the U18 championship, the captain delivers for Canada. But Canada was 20 minutes away from winning the gold medal.
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However, never count out the Czechs because they love playing from behind. On the ropes and Canada just laying back and playing defence after taking it to Czechia for 40 minutes, the Czechs made a comeback. They controlled most of the play and capitalized on a couple of Canadian turnovers.
With time winding down in the third period, but this time not in as dramatic fashion, Czechia tied the game with two goals in 54 seconds. First, the overtime hero against Sweden Jiri Kulich scored to cut the lead to 2-1 for Canada. Olen Zellweger fanned on a puck and it went right to Kulich. Then Jakub Kos tied the game 2-2. There was a late goalmouth scramble in front of Milic before the final buzzer sounded that sent the game to overtime.
It was a cautious overtime before Canada got a 2-on-1 chance thanks to Joshua Roy leading the rush. Roy got the puck over to Mr. Powerplay Guenther and it was the perfect time for Guenther to score his first even-strength goal of the tournament. Dylan Guenther finished with seven goals for the tournament and was named player of the game.
Canada now has won a record 20 golds at this tournament. In addition, Canada has won five of the last 11 gold medals.
Earlier in the day, Team USA beat Sweden 8-7 in a wild and crazy game that also needed overtime. This was the first medal for Czechia at the tournament since 2005. Czechia was looking for the first gold since 2001.