World Juniors Canada eliminated in quarterfinals

World Juniors: Canada eliminated in quarterfinals

Canada had some bad luck in its quarterfinal match against the Czech Republic, exiting in a 3-2 loss in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Tuesday thanks to an untimely goal in the final seconds.

It is only the fourth time in history that the Maple Leaf representatives have been eliminated in the quarterfinals. The Czechs not only caused a big surprise, but also took revenge for their defeat in last year's final against Canada.

There were only 11 seconds left on the clock when Jakub Stancl defeated Mathis Rousseau for a second time. The forward directed a shot that deflected off defenseman Oliver Bonk's skate before landing in the cage.

“We all know how difficult it is to win in this tournament, especially when you reach the quarterfinals,” head coach Alan Letang told TSN. […] Unfortunately luck wasn't on our side this evening with this deviation on one skate. I don’t want to go back to last year, but the rebounds went our way and not this year.”

“It's a terrible feeling, one you never want to experience,” admitted Captain Fraser Minten. It's a shame to have missed such an opportunity. […] It was important to me, even if the bitterness will remain for a while. It was a great honor to have this opportunity.”

Rousseau tested

Canada fell short in this encounter, largely due to a difficult first period. On Sunday he also ended the preliminary round and the year unconvincingly with a 6:3 victory over Germany.

At this meeting, the maple leaf awarded the first net. Midway through the first period, Stancl beat Rousseau with a good wrist shot.

The first 20 minutes were pretty busy for the Quebec goalkeeper. He prevented the Czechs from adding more quickly by frustrating Dominik Rymon with a penalty. Except Tomas Cibulka's long-range shot, which the Halifax Mooseheads goalkeeper never saw, allowed his rivals to double their lead.

Returning from behind

Matthew Wood and Jake Furlong provided the Canadian response in the second period. They knocked on the door 12 times in the third period, but Michael Hrabal was solid and finished the game with 28 saves. Like Rousseau, the Czech goalkeeper played every minute of the tournament for his team.

“After the first third we recovered very well and played probably our two best periods of the entire tournament and that is probably the most frustrating thing because we didn't reach our level quickly enough,” explained Letang.

“I give credit to my men for coming back, but I also have to give credit to the Czechs. They fought hard.”

This is the first time in five years that Canada is not playing for a medal. In 2019 the team took sixth place, this time it was expected to take fifth place.