In the middle game of day five of the 2022 World Juniors, Dylan Garand (WHL/Kamloops Blazers) got the nod in net for Canada with Tomáš Suchánek (WHL/Tri-City Americans) in for Czechia. The game was an always fun battle of WHL goaltenders, and it didn’t disappoint.
The first period was packed with action from both teams, starting early on as just 4:24 into this matchup, Jaroslav Chmelař was called for checking from behind, with the play resulting in a potentially broken nose for Canada’s Brennan Othmann (OHL/Flint Firebirds). Othmann would stick around to finish the game, seemingly okay shortly after the incident. Chmelař was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct, ending his day.
However it went well for Czechia as Martin Rysavy (WHL/Moose Jaw Warriors) scored 46 seconds into the penalty, though the goal was not immediately called, the horn sounded after a few seconds of continued play. With that, Czechia had the first shorthanded goal of the tournament and were the first team to lead Canada this year.
With save after save from Suchánek, Czechia looked to be surviving the powerful Canadian offense well.
Unfortunately for Czechia, the team in red would get two quick goals to end the period, the first, from Mason McTavish (OHL/Hamilton Bulldogs), coming on the team’s 21st shot of the game. However Canada’s second goal of the game may end up as the most talked about from this year’s tournament as Kent Johnson, who plays for the University of Michigan, pulled off a Michigan goal with one minute left in the opening period.
Canada finished the first 20 minutes recording 23 shots to Czechia’s nine, leading 2-1.
It would be a lead they wouldn’t relinquish throughout the game.
With another penalty to Czechia 4:43 into the middle frame, this time a roughing call on Gabriel Szturc (WHL/Kelowna Rockets), Ridly Greig (WHL/Brandon Wheat Kings) needed less than six seconds to score on the man advantage. Midway through the period, McTavish would pick up his second goal of the night and sixth of the tournament, putting Canada up 4-1.
Outshooting Czechia 18-6 in the second period and scoring four unanswered goals, Canada looked dominant through 40 minutes, with Suchánek continuing to keep the game from spiraling out of control.
7:39 into the final 20 minutes of play, Canada would pick up a fifth goal. Tyson Foerster (OHL/Barrie Colts) would be the one to pick it up. With Czechia unable to capitalize on the man advantage following a high sticking call to Greig and continuing to be outshot by Canada, this one would finish with a score of 5-1. Canada remains perfect in the tournament with a 3-0 record. Czechia would fall to a 1-2 record, with one loss being to Finland in overtime.
Shots in the game finished 57-23 Canada.
Canada’s player of the game was defenceman Jack Thompson (2A, 3SOG, +4).
Czechia’s player of the game was goaltender Tomáš Suchánek (52 saves).
Following the game, Kent Johnson had this to say about scoring his lacrosse goal:
“It was a great feeling [to score a lacrosse-style goal], and a great goal, especially given the timing of it. It all happened pretty quick; I just found a loose puck behind the net and I noticed there was not a defenceman covering the right post. I just went for it and saw there was a lot of room to work with. I would have been happy to have a goal go in off my skate, but I was pretty pumped that it worked out.”