Canada to play for gold at World Juniors after dominant win over Czechs

Jan 5 2018, 11:10 am

The story prior to Canada’s semi-final match against the Czech Republic was that they hadn’t faced enough tough competition in the tournament to this point.

Well, that question will linger into the gold medal game against Sweden on Friday.

Like it or not, we got to hear Canada’s goal song a lot…

After an early scare, Canada disposed of the Czechs rather easily, winning 7-2 to advance to the final of the World Juniors for the third time in four years.

Zadina dazzles Canada

You could say Canada was flat-footed to start the game, but give the Czechs credit.

They pushed the pace, and in the first 10 minutes it looked like they were going to give Canada a run for their money. Especially after a great move by Filip Zadina gave the Czechs an early lead.

Canada continued to struggle for a few minutes until they got their first power play.

Canada’s PP takes over

Canada’s power play has been dominant all tournament long, and it continued again on Thursday.

First it was Sam Steel finishing off a power play that featured great puck movement by the top unit.

A few minutes later on a different man advantage, Cale Makar’s point shot was tipped in by Drake Batherson to give Canada the lead.

Makar and Batherson connected again on the power play in a similar fashion to give Canada a 3-1 lead.

Canada never looked back from there.

Each of the last three teams to win gold at the World Juniors had the top power play in the tournament, and Canada will be hoping to extend that streak to four.

Hatty for Batherson

Batherson, an Ottawa Senators prospect, didn’t even need a third period to get his third goal of the game. Late in the second he drove to the net and beat Josef Korenar to complete the hat-trick.

Incredibly, Batherson now has seven goals but no assists in six games. He clearly has a knack for scoring, as evidenced by his three goals on just three shots and limited ice time against the Czechs.

Maxime Comtois, Jordan Kyrou, and Boris Katchouk had the other goals for Canada, while Zadina added a late marker for the Czech Republic.

After the game, Canada’s best three players of the tournament were named, with Batherson, Makar, and Conor Timmins getting the honours.

Canada has no time to reminisce on this win – their focus now shifts to Friday’s gold medal game against Sweden, a team that hasn’t trailed yet in this tournament.

You can catch that game at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET on TSN.

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