World Juniors Preview: A quarter final matchup versus Team Czechia

Photo credit:Hockey Canada
Liam Horrobin
6 months ago
Team Canada has advanced to the knockout stage of the 2024 World Junior Championship. First up in the quarter-finals, Canada goes head-to-head with Team Czechia, who they beat in the final in last year’s tournament.
Canada finished second in Group A behind Team Sweden, whom they lost to on New Year’s Eve. It’s now back-to-back years that Canada has finished second in their group. Ironically, in the last tournament, it was Czechia, who Canada finished behind.
In Group A, Sweden didn’t allow a goal until their final game versus Finland, when they allowed five and lost. The win helped the Fins advance past the groups along with Latvia, who finished fourth. Despite a considerable upset earlier in the tournament, Germany couldn’t build off their opening game win and now battle to avoid relegation against Team Norway.
The United States topped Group B, followed by Team Slovakia and then Team Czechia. Team Switzerland filled the fourth spot and is now taking on Sweden.

Team Canada vs. Team Czechia

Time: 6:30 AM MT
Location: Scandinavium, Sweden
Television: TSN

Team Canada’s Roster…

  • Scott Ratzlaff (G)
  • Mathis Rousseau (G)
  • Samuel St-Hilaire (G)
  • Oliver Bonk (D)
  • Jake Furlong (D)
  • Maveric Lamoureux (D)
  • Denton Mateychuk (D)
  • Ty Nelson (D)
  • Noah Warren (D)
  • Owen Allard (C)
  • Owen Beck (C)
  • Macklin Celebrini (C/W)
  • Easton Cowan (C/W)
  • Nate Danielson (C)
  • Jordan Dumais (RW)
  • Conor Geekie (C)
  • Fraser Minten (C)
  • Matthew Poitras (C)
  • Carson Rehkopf (C/LW)
  • Matthew Savoie (C)
  • Matthew Wood (LW/C)
  • Brayden Yager (C)
  • Jagger Firkus (RW)

A future star continues to shine…

“Celebrini was plenty rested when he hit the ice six minutes into the game, going from his own to score the tying goal. He was consistently Canada’s best player, grabbing six shots in the first two periods alone before generating at least one chance on nearly every shift he had in the third period. Despite being 17, coach Alan Letang wants Celebrini on the ice as often as possible because when the pressure’s on, Celebrini gives it his all. That was exemplified when he scored that 5-3 goal from an impossible angle, giving Canada some much-needed breathing room.” – Steven Ellis on Macklin Celebrini versus Team Germany

Undrafted Talent…

“After a shaky pre-tournament, Rousseau commanded the net throughout the round-robin and looked good doing it. He played his best game against Sweden, and was a big reason why Canada shut down the Finns. At 5-foot-11, Rousseau’s size could be a factor here. There’s such a minimal difference between his size and 6-foot-0, but teams have typically stayed away from guys at this size. But if you look at Rousseau’s body of work in Sweden and Halifax in the QMJHL, you’re watching a goalie who never gives up on any play.” – Steven Ellis on Mathis Rousseau.

Getting to know Team Czechia…

“After an incredible run to the final, the Czechs found themselves just one goal away from shocking Connor Bedard and Team Canada in Halifax last year. The Czechs beat them earlier in the tournament, so their result wasn’t surprising. Still, it would have been one heck of an underdog story.
Czechia’s silver marked the nation’s first medal at the World Junior Championship since 2005 and their best result since winning the tournament in consecutive years in 2000 and 2001. Since then, the quarterfinal has been Czechia’s kryptonite, advancing out of the round of eight just twice since many of this year’s roster was born.
It’s been a difficult stretch for Czechia, but good days are ahead if recent performances at other levels are to be believed. And that’s the same this year. With some of the same core pieces from last year, plus a boatload of experience in general, the Czechs look like a top-five team again.”

Team Czechia’s Path…

Czechia finished third in Group B behind the United States and Slovakia. Their two wins this far into the tournament came against Team Norway 8-1 and Team Switzerland 4-2. The Czechs pushed the US to a shootout and held leads twice in that game; however, they ultimately fell in the shootout, with Lane Hudson scoring the winner.
Jiri Kulich is the captain for Czechia and is leading the way offensively, too. He’s a former first-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, going 28th overall in the 2022 draft. His four goals and seven points lead the way in both categories. Between the pipes, Michael Hrabal has played in every game and has a .888 save percentage and a 2.94 goals against average.

Team Czechia’s Roster…


GAME DAY PREDICTION: Canada wins 4-1 and moves on.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Macklin Celebrini continues to shine with a three-point performance.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Czechia score the first goal of the game.

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