Czechia stuns USA at world juniors to advance to semis
Czechia pulled off an improbable upset Wednesday night at the World Junior Championship, defeating the reigning gold medalist United States in the quarterfinal by a score of 4-2.
The Czechs will now square off against Canada in the semis. Sweden and Finland will go head-to-head in the other semifinal.
The United States jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but Czechia stormed back with three straight tallies of its own. Captain Jan Mysak evened things up late in the opening frame, Petr Hauser absolutely wired a shot off the post and in to give the Czechs a lead in the second, and Matyas Sapovaliv squeaked one past U.S. goalie Kaidan Mbereko for a two-goal advantage.
American forward Carter Mazur cut the lead in half with a power-play marker in the third period after Czechia took a five-minute major, but that's as far as the comeback went. Jiri Kulich potted the empty-netter for his third point of the game to seal the victory for Czechia.
Tomas Suchanek was sensational for Czechia between the pipes, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
This marks the second time since 2005 that Czechia has made it to the final four of this tournament. The nation hasn't taken home a medal since winning bronze in 2005, and hasn't won gold since claiming back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.