The fourth day of the World Juniors has officially ended. On the third day there were only two games, but on the fourth day it was back to the big four games.
The team is starting to understand who they are in this tournament, so every game has been good. The better teams are starting to separate.
There’s a lot of good hockey being played, and NHL fans will be excited to see some players do well.
Slovakia vs Norway
Although Norway is not much of a threat in this tournament, Slovakia’s win over Norway on Friday was very impressive. They dominated the match and won 8-4.
The win took the team to 3-0-0-0, good enough for first place in Group B. It’s the most impressive win for the Czechs, but it bodes well for them as they won all three games with little difficulty.
Slovakia’s next matchup is a big showdown against Team USA on Sunday. This match should be very important as the winner could become the winner of Group B. They would rather have an easier path to the gold medal that comes naturally with a team win.
Finland vs Latvia
It was a very strange tournament for the Finnish team. Despite making some great plays, they just couldn’t score enough goals. As a result, it was a 0-0-0-2 start.
They may not be of normal power, but they still have a pedigree that commands respect. They achieved that with a 4-0 win over Latvia. They finally got on the board which should have made it through round robin play.
Finland will have a big rivalry showdown with Sweden on Sunday. This is a big thing because Sweden is one of the best teams in the tournament. If the Fins can somehow win this game, it will be considered a comeback after a tough start.
When it comes to Latvia, they always deserve respect. They play hard and always come back to the tournament in the end. They are currently 0-0-0-3, but their final round-robin game will be against Germany on Saturday. It will be tough for them, but they have a chance.
USA vs Czech Republic
Team USA defeated Team Switzerland 11-3 on Thursday, but they knew the Czech Republic would be an even tougher battle on Friday. they were.
The Czech Republic lost their opening game to rivals Slovakia, but bounced back impressively (which makes Slovakia’s victory all the more impressive).
This was the first game in the entire tournament to go into overtime. However, the game was still tied 3-3 in overtime, and the match went to penalties. This was despite the US’ power play in overtime.
Both teams played very impressive (and hard-fought) games, but Team USA won the shootout. The shootout required an extra frame for Michigan State’s Isaac Howard (Tampa Bay Lightning) to win. It was a great ending to a great match.
The Czech Republic, who won silver medals in 2022-2023, will conclude their round-robin match against Switzerland on Sunday. As for Team USA, they have the aforementioned Group B showdown with Slovakia coming up.
Canada vs Sweden
Both Sweden and Canada went into this tournament thinking they could win it all. Neither has world-beating players, but both are top-tier players.
It always felt like the showdown between these two would ultimately decide the winner of Group A. Well, it was a great match between two great hockey countries.
Canada is always one of the favorites to win no matter what. They still produce more hockey talent than any other country in the world. However, the match did not go as planned and Sweden won 2-0.
It was a very impressive victory for the Swedes. This time we had a very good Team Canada team. It’s quite remarkable that they didn’t allow a single goal to Canada.
Sweden hasn’t allowed anyone a goal this tournament. They have outscored their opponents 13-0 through three games. They should believe they can win the gold medal.
Canada was alerted. They need to get even better if they want to advance and win this tournament.
Their next match will be against Germany on Sunday. As for Sweden, they have arch-rival Team Finland to end round-robin play.
Regardless of what happens in this game, both teams need to focus on the future. Neither team could win the gold medal here. Teams from the USA, Slovakia, Finland and Czech Republic are waiting to see their best in the Elimination Round.