2023 World Junior Championship Predictions: Sweden vs Czechia

Day four of the World Junior Championship is here! Group A has a couple of powerhouses and a team on the come up. Two of those teams, Sweden (second) and Czechia (first) lead the group, with both having +12 goal differentials. Which team stays hot? 

2023 World Junior Championship Predictions

Czechia vs Sweden

Sweden has not conceded a goal. They opened with an 11-0 smackdown of Austria. They followed that up with a tightly contested match-up with Germany, winning 1-0. Meanwhile, Czechia came in and beat Canada 5-2, in a shocking upset. They followed that up with a dominant 9-0 win over Austria. Both of these teams have been impressive and fun to watch. 

Team Czechia

Czechia has been led by Stanislav Svozil (Columbus Blue Jackets) with five points, second in the tournament. David Spacek (Minnesota Wild) and Matyas Sapovaliv (Vegas Golden Knights) have also impressed, with four points each. Jiri Kulich (Buffalo Sabres) has led the way in the goal-scoring department, with three goals, tied for second in the tournament. Simply put, there’s been lots of offence for Czechia, and their big guns are firing right now. 

Not only has their offence been on fire in this tournament, but their goaltender has been dynamite in net. Tomas Suchanek has allowed just two goals on 46 shots faced (0.957 save percentage). With sound play all over the ice, the Czech’s look like a serious threat to snag the gold medal. 

Player To Watch

The goals have to keep coming. Sweden has played at such a high level and have, arguably, the hottest goalie at the moment, as he has yet to allow a goal thus far. That said, all eyes should be on Kulich. He’s been getting them their goals, and he’ll face his toughest challenge yet against the Swedes.  

Team Sweden

Similar to the Czech’s, as mentioned, Sweden has scored a lot of goals. But rather than one player leading the way, eight(!) players have scored at least two points in their two games. Adam Engstrom (Montreal Canadiens), Ludvig Jansson (Florida Panthers), Isak Rosen (Sabres), and Fabian Wagner (Winnipeg Jets) all have three points, while Filip Bystedt (San Jose Sharks) has four of his own.

Despite that offense, their power play has scored just once on eight opportunities (12.5%). That said, they are playing extremely well at even-strength, and on the penalty kill. They’ve killed off all eight penalties they’ve taken thus far. That’s not even mentioning their netminder. Carl Lindbom (Golden Knights) has yet to allow a goal, facing 41 shots in two games. Against a team as good as Czechia, with a goaltender playing at an equally high level, makes this match tantalizing. 

Player To Watch

It’s clear Sweden has been getting help from everywhere in the lineup. However, there is one player who has yet to do anything on the scoresheet, despite the top six role, being one of the top names on the roster, and the 12 goals scored across two games. That guy is Fabian Lysell (Boston Bruins). Lysell is much better than he’s shown, and depth scoring could be the difference in this game. Lysell needs to step up and put points up on the board against a tough Czechia team. His quiet World Junior Championship performance can’t continue. 

2023 World Junior Championship Matchup Prediction

Sweden and Czechia have played so well in this tournament. Taking down the presumed top team in Canada, and then dominating Austria, Czechia is red-hot. Sweden has not yet been challenged by a top team like Canada, though Germany is still a good team and was a handful. Suchanek and Lindbom have been great, both teams have played well defensively, and the top players on both teams are playing at a high level. But based on what’s been shown so far, there is a smell of an upset. 

Prediction: Czechia wins 2-1 (in overtime).

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