Canada beat Czechia on January 5 in Halifax to win the gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Men’s Hockey Championship. The nation has won 19 prior gold medals and 2 golds in a row. Winger Dylan Guenther scored the game-winning goal over five minutes into overtime. Czechia did not score until the final period, despite 22 attempts in the first 40 minutes. Forwards Jiri Kulich and Jakob Kos brought the Czechs even with two goals within a minute. For two consecutive championships, the gold-medal game has gone to overtime and the second consecutive overtime game for the Czech team.
Dylan Guenther Scores In Overtime to Give Team Canada World Juniors Gold Medal
First Period: Canada Grinds for Lead
Until the final 10 minutes of the game, Canada appeared to be in control.
Guenther started the scoring for the host nation with 12:41 remaining in the first period with a power-play goal. He scored all six of his goals on the man advantage; as a rookie for the Arizona Coyotes, he has three power-play goals and two total points on the power play. He has scored 11 points in 21 NHL games this season.
Second Period: Hosts Grab One More
Canada could have extended the lead on the power play early in the middle period. Czech goaltender Tomas Suchanek pushed through a potential knee injury to make three major saves on Canadian breakaways. Suchanek currently plays for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, where he has recorded a .901 save percentage and 3.61 goals allowed average.
Shane Wright finally overcame Suchanek with 15:25 remaining in the second period. He pushed through Adam Mechura and Stanislav Svozil to gain the right circle and lifted a backhand under the bar in stride.
Third Period: Czechs Draw Even
Czechia got on the board 12:30 into the final period and Jakub Kos tied the score within a minute.
The teams went to overtime with Canada holding a shots advantage 33-23.
One Shot to Win It: Dylan Guenther Wins It All
In nonstop overtime, Guenther found the tip-in opportunity for his first and most important even-strength goal. This is the second straight year the Canadians guarantee a Team Canada World Juniors gold medal.
Suchanek played every minute of the tournament for Team Czechia despite the collision in the first. He is eligible for the upcoming draft. He is ranked as the sixth-best European player by the NHL’s Central Scouting service.
Connor Bedard set new records for the Canadians in the tournament and will go first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft.