Canada West Beats the Czech Republic 5-1 to Advance to WJAC Finals

Canada West Beats the Czech Republic 5-1 to Advance to WJAC Finals

Steven Ellis15 Dec 2017Steven Ellis»

A dominant third period by Canada West over the Czech Republic has secured a Saturday gold medal game date with the United States


A dominant third period by Canada West over the Czech Republic has secured a Saturday gold medal game date with the United States.

The first 20 minutes saw no offense, with goalies Zach Rose and Milan Kloucek putting on a clinic early. For the most part, the tournament has been rather even with any team really proving to be worthy of a chance at gold. Goaltending has been one of the stronger parts about the tournament, while the defence as a whole throughout seem to have had issues, no matter who's playing.

But great individual plays have been evident, too, and that's exactly how Canada West found themselves in the lead. At 11:59 in the second, Brett Stapley made a couple of great moves, deking past three defenders before unloading a blister of a wrister, beating Kloucek for the 1-0 goal.

Back-to-back goals in the third period changed the whole landscape of the game. At 10:28, Jan Kern picked up his own rebound on the rush by backhanding the puck behind his own back, a shot that almost nobody could score on nine times out of ten. Alas, it worked for him that time, scoring one of the prettiest goals of the tournament.

But under a minute later, Canada scored one of the weakest goals of the tournament. Kloucek will have nightmares about the far angle shot by Angus Crookshank, a goal that proved to the be the game-winner. Dylan Holloway would score another short side shortly after to extend Canada's lead and Stapley would pot his second of the night before Brendan Budy wrapped the game up, helping Canada West escape with the 5-1 win.

Canada West will now meet up with the United States in the gold medal game, a rematch of their exciting preliminary round game that the United States won earlier in the week. Canada West has won four World Junior A Challenge gold medals, while the Americans have beaten Canada West in three of their seven gold medal runs, with the country never losing when they've made the finals.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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