Team Canada is getting prepared for another push for gold tonight. The quarterfinals begin today at the World Junior Hockey Championship, and the Canadians will faceoff against the Czech Republic for the first time since the 2014 tournament. The Czechs won that round-robin matchup 5-4 in a shootout.
Canada still leads the all-time series at the World Juniors between the two 12-3. The Canadians also beat the Czechs 5-0 during the pre-tournament round and 8-0 during Canada’s evaluation camp on December 14th.
Despite these two wins, Canada is not taking the Czechs lightly. Captain Dylan Strome says he’s expecting a much different Czech team tonight then the one Canada faced just over a week ago.
The Czechs won their opening game of the tournament against Finland 2-1, but have dropped their last three to Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.
On the Canadian side, it’s still unclear who will be starting in goal. Connor Ingram got the call on Saturday against the US and let in 3 goals on 20 shots for the loss. Both Ingram and Carter Hart made two starts in the group stage, but neither has emerged as the number one for head coach Dominique Ducharme.
What is clear is that Canada will be without one their top defenceman in Philippe Myers. The Rouyn-Noranda d-man is suffering from a concussion after taking a hit from US captain Luke Kunin on Saturday.
The winner of this game will go on to face either Sweden or Slovakia in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Other quarterfinal matchups include Russia at Denmark, and the Swiss taking on the US.
Last year Canada lost in the quarterfinals to Finland 6-5, so returning players know what it’s like to lose this game.
Puck drop for tonight is set for 8pm from the Bell Centre in Montreal.