United States USA
17 AUG 2022
Czechia CZE
20:30Rogers Place
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Game details
HIFF Stephen
HOLM Christoffer
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Czechs stun U.S., go to semis
By Andrew Podnieks | 17 AUG 2022
Czechia's Adam Mechura #11 and Ivan Ivan #16 celebrate a goal against Team USA.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Despite being significant underdogs, Czechia rallied from being down an early goal and stunned the United States, 4-2, in the last of a busy day of quarter-finals at Rogers Place. Their reward is a semi-finals date with Canada on Friday afternoon, followed by a Sweden-Finland clash in the evening.

The last Czechia victory over the Americans came back in 2011, eight games ago, but today the defending gold medallists go home with a fifth-place finish. The Czechs, meanwhile, have a chance to win a U20 medal for the first time since 2005 (bronze).

"We played a big team effort today," enthused David Spacek. "And I guess everybody just put everything into it, all tears, sweat, and blood. Today, we played a lot together, and we saw ourselves that it was the way for the victory."

The Americans had finished the preliminary round with a perfect 4-0 record while the Czechs had won only one of four games.

Jiri Kulich had a goal and two assists for the winners and was a +3 on the night. Shots favoured the Americans, 30-24, but Czechia goalie Tomas Suchanek was steady and well-positioned all night long.

"I think we learned a lesson against Latvia," captain Jan Mysak said in reference to the team's 5-2 loss three days ago. "We learned a lesson that they just wanted it more than us. So we lost. Today, we tried to do the same. We just wanted it more, and that's why we won. We just blocked the shots. We ate pucks, and we had success."

"It's horrible," said American forward Logan Cooley, one of the goalscorers. "Obviously for the '02 players, this was their last shot. It's terrible the way it ended. But happy with the way the guys battled and couldn't complain effort-wise. The Czechs like to clog it up in the middle. I think we just needed to chip it in a little more. It just didn't happen too much."
United States vs Czechia (QF) - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship
USA CZE 17 AUG 2022
The Americans got just the start they wanted, jumping into a 1-0 at 12:03 with a bit of good fortune. A simple clear-in bounced improperly off the side boards and the puck came out by the faceoff dot instead of rolling behind the net, where goalie Tomas Suchanek was.

Matt Coronato got to the puck first and fired quickly, but Suchanek dove back to get his stick on the puck. It came right to Logan Cooley, however, and he fired it into the open net for his second goal of the tournament.

The Czechs had been unlucky not to score first, though, as Tomas Urban rang a hard shot off the post that stayed out. 

The U.S. continued to take the puck to their opponents, but the Czechs didn’t panic and played disciplined hockey inside their own line. They didn’t test Mbereko much, but they did tie the game at 17:55. The play started in the corner when Kulich won a puck battle back to the point. Jiri Tichacek’s long shot was expertly tipped in front by captain Jan Mysak, making it a 1-1 game.

It was the Czechs who came out and dominated the second period, one in which the Americans looked decidedly lost and uncharacteristically flat. Suchanek was solid but wasn’t tested often, and the Czechs had many more chances than the two goals they scored.

They took a lead for the first time at 7:34 on a simple play. Petr Hauser made a little side pass to Ivan Ivan, and he was allowed to walk into the faceoff circle where he snapped a wicked shot off the far post and in. They padded their lead three minutes later on a bad gaffe by Mbereko. Matyas Sapovaliv’s routine shot slipped through the goalie’s equipment and dribbled over the line, giving Czechia added confidence and further rendering the U.S. mood flat.

Things went from bad to worse in the third. Less than three minutes in, Brett Berard was assessed five and a game for a slew foot. But the Americans killed that off expertly and then got a five-minute power play of their own when Svozil nailed Colley with a knee-on-knee hit at the Czechia blue line.

Sure enough, the U.S. cashed in on a scramble in front, Carter Mazur lifting the puck over a sprawled Suchanek at 11:31 to make it a one-goal game. But Czechia managed to contain the damage to that one goal, thanks to Suchanek, who robbed Mazur moments later from in close.

Mbereko went to the bench with 1:40 left and a faceoff in the Czechia end, but a giveaway allowed Kulich to steal the puck and score an empty netter to seal the victory.
United States vs Czechia (QF) - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship