Canada and the Czech Republic will meet again in the semi-finals of the World Hockey Championship on Saturday, as they did in 2019. The representatives of the maple leaf will try to win again and thus break a historic tie.
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In international matches since 1993, the two countries have won 12 times against each other, and each scored 72 goals. It is therefore a real showdown in which they have been engaged for years, but it is Canada which has won the last six duels at the World Cup, including a semi-final match in 2019.
“I have a [World Junior Championship] medal, so I know what it is to win. Many of us have done it, so we want to feel it again, and we will do everything in our power,” striker Drake Batherson, who played heroes in the quarterfinals, told the IIHF website on Friday. final against Sweden the day before.
The Canadians will also hope for a simpler match than Thursday. Facing the Swedes, they had to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period, then confirm their victory in overtime. Batherson, an Ottawa Senators forward, broke the tie by completing the play started by Mathew Barzal.
"It's in our blood. There are several games in the past where we have found ways to win. You can never count Canada as beaten. We saw it last year and we're seeing it again. We need to believe. We still believe we can come back,” said Maxime Comtois, who won gold at last year’s tournament.
Neutralize the two Davids
Since being re-paired, David Pastrnak and David Krejci have been sparking fire for the Czechs. The former Boston Bruins teammates combined for 17 points, while linemate Roman Cervenka had 14 on his own.
This trio provided the bulk of the attack against Germany in the quarters, which went down 4-1.
Canada, however, has nothing to envy its opponents with its unit formed by Pierre-Luc Dubois, Batherson and Dylan Cozens, who scored 14 of the team's 38 goals.
In goal, Chris Driedger gave the Maple Leafs confidence by winning his three most recent starts. He is expected to be matched against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka, one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament so far.