Canada defeated Czechia 3-2 in overtime to win the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Dylan Guenther scored in overtime as Canada survived a third-period charge from Czechia to win the Thursday’s final and retain their crown.
The Arizona Coyotes forward took a pass from Joshua Roy on a 2-on-1 to give his country its 20th title at the men’s under-20 event.
“I can’t believe it. I even forgot to take my gloves off because it doesn’t feel real. This is awesome. We played so hard tonight, we played well, and this is a dream come true. This is unbelievable,” Guenther said after the win.
“This has got to be the best feeling ever. I mean, to score that goal, every kid dreams of that,” Guenther said.
Shane Wright – who was celebrating his 19th birthday – had the other goal for Canada on a wicked backhand beating four separate Czech defenders in the second period.
“So proud of this group, so proud of these boys. We faced a lot of adversity this tournament and gave it all tonight. Hell of a win,” Wright said.
Canada is the first team to repeat since the country won five straight gold medals between 2005 and 2009 after Connor Bedard and seven other returnees also topped the pandemic-delayed summer showcase in Edmonton.
Bedard was named tournament MVP.
“Going into overtime, a lot of us had been there. A lot of us experienced the exact same game so we had so much confidence going in with this group,” the projected No. 1 overall pick said.
The scintillating 17-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., Bedard owns the national record with 23 all-time points and 17 all-time goals at the world juniors.
“It was an amazing feeling. I’m so proud of the guys how they stuck together,” head coach Dennis Williams said.
Czechia — the country commonly known as the Czech Republic — finished fourth in summer and earned its first medal since 2005. The United States picked up a wild 8-7 overtime victory against Sweden to take bronze.