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2023 WJC Semifinals RECAP: It’s Czechia vs Canada for the Gold!

The stage is set for one hell of a medal round.

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Relegation Round: Latvia survives and officially relegates Austria, winning 4-2.

Oh Austria. We hardly knew ye.

Game Notes:

  • Latvia did the cruelest possible thing in this game, something that frankly I should feel they should get a little stink for: They phoned it in. Their one shot of the third period went in. They let up two goals so late it couldn’t have possibly mattered. They let Austria charge in and try. Still didn’t matter. That was rude, Latvia. Don’t play with your food.
  • Bruins in this Game: Dans Locmelis played 17:52 and got another goal, finishing his tournament as one of Latvia’s golden boys: having three goals in 6 games; leading his country at this tourney. Great work for him!

Quarterfinal Game 1: Sweden tries winning the exact same way they won against Czechia in group stage, pays for it dearly. Czechia guaranteed to medal for the first time since 2001 as they beat Tre Kronor 2-1 in OT

Sweden should’ve lost this one in regulation were it not for their unreal goaltending.

Game Notes:

  • I told y’all! I tooold y’all that Czechia wasn’t gonna be beaten if they played them like they did! Okay, I might’ve told one person in the comments, but my point stands; Sweden got up, and then turtled like crazy. They really thought, knowing exactly what happened last time, that they’d get away with it again. They thought that they could use their individual talent to survive and go on to medal. They even got Czechia a little gassed at the end. Well guess what; you can’t galaxy brain your entire tournament and expect that to not completely screw everything up when it matters. Czechia proved, even when frankly their OT wasn’t all that ideal, that they’re for real. They get to medal no matter what for the first time since 2001. Now they just gotta prove it again like they did in group stage. It’s a hell of a task. Let’s see if they’re up to it.
  • Sweden gets the US for the Bronze Medal game, and I dunno if they have the fortitude to win it. They proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they’re a team with a lot of talent and goaltending, but with atrocious coaching. They might be able to beat the US, but it’s not a medal their tactical decision making earned if they did.
  • Bruins in this Game: Alright, let’s get this out of the way: Fabian Lysell is snakebit; not some secret bust. He’s made great play after great play for Sweden and hasn’t been rewarded at all with any points in a tournament where Sweden has spent a lot of time living on individual efforts instead of good team plays like Lysell’s been making. It should not surprise you to learn that he got benched later in the game, and ended up playing 14:46. What a terrible tournament for him based on nothing but pure incompetence by the people ahead of him. I hope he finally pops off against the States.

Quarterfinal Game 2: Canada beats the USA after some home-cooking helps them out in a 6-2 victory.

Man Hockey Canada’s checks clear fast, don’t they?

Game Notes:

  • Okay. I have a personal philosophy that if we all generally agree that Refs are extremely mercurial in performance, then it’s on the team playing to take the Refs out of the game as much as humanly possible. If you put them in a position to influence the outcome of the game, you weren’t playing well enough to win. It’s a little unfair, but it helps me keep my blood pressure low. THAT BEING SAID...good lord there was some dodgy calls, particularly with two called back goals, that saved Canada’s bacon. USA couldn’t get back into this one due to their own issues sure...but any of that momentum they could’ve had just deflated after that.
  • That said...Canada? Milic got you a good one and that’s excellent for him but uh...45 shots-against? The way your defense played? I dunno, man. Might wanna bring that A-Game of yours that you didn’t bring against Czechia last time. You’re liable to get burned.

Medal Round Preview

Bronze Medal Game: USA vs. Sweden, 2:30pm

This is two teams who probably think they should be in the Gold medal game. One probably more than the other; I won’t choose one. One is addicted to coming back big time and full of impressive players that are fun, fast, and free. The other is coached by spacemen who just happened to land in Sweden who kind of gets it but doesn’t really get it?

Either way, worth a watch. Maybe Sweden will bullshit their way to a medal.

Gold Medal Game: Czechia vs. Canada, 6:30pm

It’s Czechia’s hardworking team that shocked the world versus Connor Bedard and the team they shocked. It’s the only way this could end, really. A Canada team that wants nothing but to win on their home turf. A Czechia team ready to prove themselves.

This is, for all the negatives these national teams bring (and a couple of them have, let’s be clear.), what people watch these IIHF tournaments for. This is what brings this tournament together at the end.

This is a game you must watch.

...And I of course will be rooting for Czechia to break their hearts again. Jako Lev.