The final day of the preliminary rounds of the World Junior Championship is here. In group A, Austria fell into fifth place, knocking them out of qualifying for the knock-out rounds. On the final day before the quarterfinals, Czechia and Germany take each other on. Czechia has a chance to win the group if they can get a win. Be sure to check out our other World Junior Championship Predictions during the tournament.
2023 World Junior Championship Predictions
Germany vs Czechia
Germany took on Austria last night, and they were able to win, with the final score being 4-2. That win locked them into the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Czechia is coming off a tough overtime loss to the current group A leaders, Sweden.
Prior to the game against Austria, Germany had scored just two goals, while allowing 12. Germany is a rising power in hockey, with the likes of Tim Stutzle and Moritz Seider being recent examples at the NHL level. However, in this tournament, they don’t have a true stud on their roster. Currently, they are being led by Philipp Krening up front (one goal, two assists, three points). On the backend, it’s Phillip Sinn leading with two points. Meanwhile, the biggest name on their roster, Julian Lutz (Arizona Coyotes), has two points.
While Germany has not had quite the best showing, there is still something to look forward to for them. Even though their penalty kill has been porous (eight goals allowed on 16 total kills) and their power play has not been great (one goal on 12 chances), they may have found the guy they can lean on in big games. Goaltender Nikita Quapp (Carolina Hurricanes) played just one game, but looked outstanding. Allowing just one goal on 45 shots against the group leader, Sweden, he should be the goalie moving forward. He has the ability to steal a game against a good team.
Player To Watch
There are two players to pay attention to for Germany. If they do roll with Quapp for the remainder of the tournament, he is the guy who could steal a game or two for the Germans. That includes their game today. The other player is Lutz. He is their big name, and in big games, the big names need to have big performances. Can he step up for his squad?
In their game against Sweden, coming in they knew that Swedish goalie, Carl Lindbom, was going to be difficult to beat. Coming in without having conceded a goal, Czechia put the pressure on. They put two past him, and had out-shot Sweden by 11 (35-24). It still was not enough. But, it did show that they can put up a fight against any team in this tournament.
Being led by David Jiricek (Columbus Blue Jackets) with two points in their last game, he remains red-hot. They are going to continue relying on their big defenseman. Meanwhile, Tomas Suchanek had his first tough outing, giving up three goals on 24 shots. He’s poised to bounce back, however, as he has had a great tournament up to that game.
Player To Watch
Czechia has the firepower, and their top players remained at a high level against a tough opponent. But the player who should be watched in their game today is Suchanek. With a tough game, expect him to bounce right back. Up until the Sweden game, he had been arguably the best goalie in the tournament. He should return to that form, especially since they’re looking to give themselves a chance to usurp the Swedes for first place.
World Junior Championship Matchup Prediction
Everyone loves a good underdog story. Germany may have their goalie in Quapp locked in and ready to go. But Czechia has something to play for. They have a chance to win the group and get better seeding. Not only that, but their best players are hot right now. They are also likely to have a motivated Suchanek, looking to bounce back. With all of this to consider, Czechia should take this one. Quapp may make it a challenge, but it won’t be enough.
Prediction: Czechia wins 2-0