2021 WJC GAME DAY THREAD: CANADA (4-0-0-0) vs. Czech Republic (2-0-0-2) Jan. 2, 2021 7pm EST TSN
It’s quarter-final day at the 2021 World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Russia takes on Germany at 12:00 EST, Finland and Sweden match up and that game starts at 3:30 pm EST. USA faces Slovakia at 10:30 pm EST and Canada faces off against the Czech Republic at 7:00 pm EST. The Canadian team comes into the quarter-final with a lot of confidence, going undefeated in round-robin play and fresh off a big 4-1 win over Finland on New Year’s Eve. Winger Alex Newhook will be a game time decision for Canada; he suffered an upper body injury in the first period vs. Finland and did not finish the game. Connor Zary would likely assume his spot in the lineup should he not be able to play.
The Czech team has 8 players on their roster that were drafted by NHL teams. Goaltender Nick Malik (2021 draft eligible) is the son of former NHL player Marek Malik and plays for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. He has played 2 of their games so far in the tournament. The Czech team also has Lucas Parik (3rd 2019 – LA Kings) and Jan Bednar (4th 2020 – DET) as goalkeepers on the roster. The scouting report on Bednar indicates that he is a very athletic goaltender who makes acrobatic saves and is very free-wheeling. Sounds like another famous Czech goaltender. Forward Jan Mysak (2nd 2020 – MTL) is the highest draft pick in the Czech lineup. He is described as a solid North-South player that is strong on the forecheck.
Canada’s game plan will be much the same as in their previous games, a strong forecheck by all 4 lines and we should expect they will spend a lot of time in the Czech zone. For the Czechs to keep it close they will need strong goaltending and an ability to create some kind of offensive zone time in Canada’s end of the ice. On paper, this is a game Canada should be the favourite to win, however a hot goaltender can ruin a paper lineup in a hurry. Patience and sticking with the game plan should see Canada come out on top in this matchup though. Enjoy the games.