Czechia eliminates Canada after quarterfinal match in IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech hockey players celebrate winning the IIHF World Junior Championship ice hockey quarterfinal match against Canada

With just 11 seconds remaining in the final period of the match between Czechia and Canada, a shot by Czech player Jakub Štancl broke the 2-2 tie game, and advanced the team to the semi-finals of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden. Czechia will now prepare to play home team Sweden tomorrow afternoon. Czech Radio sports journalist Adam Weidenthaler is reporting live from the tournament in Sweden, and told me more about the game.

You’re reporting from the tournament in Gothenburg, you’ve got to tell me what your reaction was when the puck hit the net with just 11 seconds left in the third period.

Canada vs. Czechia at World Juniors 2024 | Photo: Czech Television

“It was a wonderful moment – I’ve probably never experienced anything like that in my sports journalism career. It was great because on my right hand side there were the video coaches of the Czech team sitting next to me. They jumped up and screamed, and it was just a beautiful moment of joy for everybody. It was just a pleasure to watch the players being happy.”

This is a significant win for Czechia – the Canadians beat them last year in the gold medal game at the World Juniors, some are calling yesterday’s game a revenge match. How did Czechia manage to secure the win over team Canada? What edge did they have?

Canada vs. Czechia at World Juniors 2024 | Photo: Czech Television

“I wouldn’t say Czechia had an edge, because the game was pretty much even throughout the first period even though the Czechs scored two goals. The other part of the game was really in Canada’s hands – there were so many chances that they missed. The Czech goal keeper Michael Hrabal was excellent, and his defencemen were jumping in to block the shots. There were numerous times when the Canadians could have scored but Czech defenders blocked it, so that was a lot of luck.

“The Czech players talked about it in the post-game interviews, that the game was lucky for them in a way. And of course the final game breaking goal was mostly an accident, and not a great accident for the Canadian player with Czech roots Oliver Bonk. His father was a Czech player who was excellent in the NHL and also played for the Czech national team in the 90s, so this was a bit unfortunate for him. But I wouldn’t say there were extra points in terms of the Czechs’ game, it was their goal keeper, their amount of blocks, and their passion for the game. They really did everything they could to win and secure the victory.”

The semi-final game tomorrow against the home team Sweden is going to be big. What do you think it’s going to take for Czechia to secure the win and head to the final gold medal game?

Canada vs. Czechia at World Juniors 2024 | Photo: Czech Television

“I would say they need to show the same mentality and commitment to the game. Yesterday there were about 6,000 Canadian fans in the arena. Tomorrow, it’s going to be an even bigger audience in terms of home support since the tournament is being played in Sweden. This will work against them, so they will need the same game plan that they had in the quarter finals. It’s going to be a tough game again, but the Czechs have shown when they played the United States, Canada, and now versus Sweden that they can match the world’s best teams in junior hockey.”