Welcome to our 2023 World Junior Championship predictions. We’ll take an in-depth look at each game taking place in the Canadian Maritimes. These looks will happen for each game until the gold-medal game. We’ll try to give you the information you need to get an edge. We take a look at the Quarterfinal matchup between Czechia and Switzerland. Be sure to check out the other games for today.
2023 World Junior Championship Predictions
Czechia vs Switzerland
On paper, this one is looking to be a bit of a one-sided contest. Czechia has earned the right to an easier Quarterfinal matchup with their play in this tournament. They won group A, ahead of Canada and Sweden. Meanwhile, Switzerland is coming off a shootout victory against the Slovaks. Switzerland comes out of the tightly contested group B. In group B, the four teams advancing were only separated by three points.
The team that is formerly known as the Czech Republic is starting to turn the under-20 program around. This is coming off the August 2022 World Junior tournament, in which they lost to Sweden in the Bronze medal match. This version of the team is built from the defence. That, in part, is why they were able to slow the Canadians in the opening match 5-2.
Team Czechia’s defence is pretty loaded, with guys like David Spacek (Minnesota Wild), David Jirichek (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Stanislav Svozil (Columbus Blue Jackets). Both Spacek and Svozil have recorded six points through the preliminary round. Interestingly enough, Svozil is a Regina Pat teammate of Team Canada’s Connor Bedard who also has a big matchup today. In addition, Ottawa Senator draft-pick, Tomas Hamara has looked solid on the back end as well. Moreover, the team’s strong defence has helped their goaltender post some strong numbers. Tomas Suchanek has posted a .933 SV% and collected all three of the team’s victories. On forward, they have spread the scoring around, with four players recording five points thus far. One to keep an eye on for his consistent play is Matyas Sapovaliv (Vegas Golden Knights). He seems to always be around the play, and look for him to contribute when required.
Switzerland has had a strong tournament. They started it off by downing Finland 3-2 in overtime. They play a smart, tactical game, and can slow down the opponent’s offence. Their team tournament statistics have been far from impressive, ranking 6th and 7th in power play and penalty, respectively. However, despite this, when they execute their game plan, they can be effective.
Team Switzerland will need to play a team game to win against Czechia but does have a few important players. In goal, they are led by Kevin Pasche, who is supported by a 2.21 GAA in the tournament. Up front, it is a group effort. However, one of their players to watch is the undrafted Attilio Biasca. Biasca has four points so far in the tournament. In addition, he should have supporters behind him, as he currently plays for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. This year he has eight goals, 19 assists for 27 points in 28 games for them.
As competitive as Switzerland has been in this tournament, it seems Czechia might be too strong. Besides the strength and depth of their D-core, they are also a physical team. They should be able to out-skill Switzerland throughout the 60-minute effort. Anticipate a tight-checking game, but Czechia will come out on top.
Prediction: Team Czechia wins 4-2.