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Kulich scores in overtime as Czechia beats Sweden, advances to world junior final

Upstart squad will play Canada or US for the gold medal
Jiri Kulich of Czechia, left, celebrates his game-winning goal in front of Fabian Wagner of Sweden during overtime of IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship semifinal action in Halifax on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

David Jiricek tied the game with 39 seconds remaining in regulation and Jiri Kulich scored in overtime Wednesday as Czechia came back to beat Sweden 2-1 and advance to the final of the world junior hockey championship.

Ludvig Jansson scored in the second period for Sweden, which appeared poised to advance to the gold-medal game for the first time since 2018.

Jiricek gave Czechia life when he ripped a shot from just outside the left face-off circle past Swedish goalie Carl Lindbom with time winding down.

Kulich sent Czechia to the tournament final when he skated in from the right side and beat Lindbom 9:10 into the extra frame for his fifth goal of the tournament.

Tomas Suchanek made 21 saves for Czechia, while Lindbom stopped 29 shots for Sweden.

Czechia advanced to the gold-medal game for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.

Host and defending champion Canada faced the United States in the other semifinal.

Earlier Wednesday, Latvia beat Austria 4-2 to sweep the best-of-three relegation series.

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