Semifinal #1: Canada vs. Czechia
How to watch
Canada and Czechia met in the round-robin portion of the tournament, a game that the host team took by a 5-1 score. The Czechs scored first, but Canada responded with five unanswered goals, and outshot their opponent 57-23 in the game. Considering that Czechia proceeded to be on the opposite side of Latvia’s first ever win at the World Juniors the next day, the Canadians probably didn’t expect to see the Czechs again.
Jan Mysak’s team found new life after just squeaking into the quarter-finals, playing their best game of the tournament versus an unbeaten American squad. They played a nearly perfect team game, getting out to a large enough lead that a push from Team USA late wasn’t enough to complete the comeback, and the Czechs pulled off an upset.
They won’t want that to be their peak in this event, looking for redemption after that earlier defeat to Canada. Can they pull off another major upset and secure themselves at least a silver medal?
Semifinal #2: Sweden vs. Finland
How to watch
The second match of the day features the Sweden-Finland rivalry, two teams that have played each other many times, but are also in very different places in terms of confidence.
It’s been 10 years since Sweden won gold at the World Juniors, and three years since they made a championship game, having just a single bronze medal in that time. The pressure is on for a team that nearly always brings a competitive roster to the event but has struggled to get over the finish line.
Finland has lifted the trophy three times since Sweden’s last championship, most recently in 2019. The nation seems to have figured out the formula for finding success at all levels of international play, and you know they like flaunting that in the faces of their neighbours. Their recent success affords them the luxury of playing more freely in such a high-pressure situation, and that could be the difference in a tight elimination game.