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Canada won't rule out underdogs Czech Republic in world junior semi-finals

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The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Gemma Karstens-Smith

Edmonton — Nathan Gaucher is having a pretty special summer.

In early July, the 18-year-old, who hails from Chambly, Quebec, received NHL entry in his draft to Anaheim. did.

Now, as his team competes for the gold medal with Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton, he's working on another dream come true.

"There's been a lot of focus on hockey," he said. "Sometimes it's tempting to distract yourself in the summer. But this summer, I can't complain. It's been great."

But winning gold To do so, Gaucher and Team Canada will have to overtake their familiar -- if unexpected -- opponents in Friday's semifinals.

The Czech Republic, commonly known as the Czech Republic, earned a place in the game by defeating the reigning champions American in Thursday's quarterfinals.

The Canadian beat the Czechs 5-1 in the qualifying round, but the result would mean nothing on Friday, Gaucher said.

"We were watching the game (USA vs. Czech Republic) yesterday. Big team wins, big sacrifices," he said Thursday. "So we have to go back to the little things and forget what we did to them before."

Canada (5-0-0) were undefeated in five games of the tournament. However, the Czech Republic (2-2-1) struggled in round robin, losing to Latvia, Slovakia and Canada.

"Everyone was pretty depressed, so the coach's job was to make them believe they could win against America," said goalkeeper Ondrej Pavelet. the director said. "I think we played a great match. We played with fire and played the right way. We weren't scared at all. We just fought hard and we beat them."

It takes a similar mindset to post another upset on Saturday.

Canada is a fast team full of skilled players, he said Pavelec. ``You have to have discipline. ``If we go five-on-five, we have a chance.''

The Czech has not won a medal at the World Junior Championships since winning bronze in 2005, but he hopes to win silver in the 2021 tournament. Acquired Canada has not ruled them out.

"(The Czechs) are a great team," said captain Mason McTavish. "They work really hard, clogging the center and it's hard to reach inside to score. We're going to focus on doing that." One Dave Cameron said that all teams are good teams by the time they reach the semi-finals in tournaments like World Juniors.

At this point, it doesn't matter who his team faces.

"It's about us," said Cameron. "And we have to run our system and not beat ourselves up. And then let's see what happens."

Canada said he The Czechs won 15-20, outscoring their opponents 33-10 in five games.

Special His team is also important for the Canadian, with his 54.5% of chances and his 83.3% penalties power plays that capitalize on his kills.

However, the Canadians may be missing an important piece on Friday.

Forward Ridley Greig was sidelined in Wednesday's 6-3 quarter-final win over Switzerland with an apparent shoulder injury in the first period of his game. He didn't practice with his teammates on Thursday and Cameron said he wasn't sure if he would be able to play in Friday's game.

Ottawa senatorial candidate Greig sent him to Canada in the tournament. gave 6 points (3 goals and 3 assists) and has been a key factor in penalty kills.

McTavish said it would be "almost impossible" to fill his role.

"He's a really good player," he said. "It's consistency. Probably one of the hardest things is to do well in each game. So it's definitely going to be tough. Hopefully he'll do well." 76}

The Czech Republic go into Friday's game with limited hopes, while Canada, who play at home, are perennial favorites in the tournament.

Pressure is mounting as Canadians continue their quest for gold, defenseman Olen Zellweger said.

"I think you have to approach it the same way you would any other game and prepare the same way," he said. "This is a hockey game and you have to be ready and sharp from the start."

This Canadian Press report was first published on August 18, 2022.