In the final of the 2016 Ice Hockey World Championships in Moscow, Russia, two of the favourites fought for the tournament victory: Canada and Finland. After 60 minutes of play, Team Canada was defending champions.
Canada 2-0 Finland
The final was a pretty one-sided event even if it didn’t contain much scoring. Connor McDavid gave Canada the early lead and Finland played a tight point defensive game. That is a style of play we’ve seen Finland use the last years. However, it did not work against Canada this time. The Canadian players played an excellent dump and chase hockey, putting a tremendous pressure on Finnish defencemen. Finland did not have the energy to counterattack except for a few one man shows. In the end of the third period, they pulled the goalie in a last attempt to get the equalized just to see Matt Duchene put the puck in the open net with 0.9 seconds left to play. A funny detail was that the referees insisted on playing the last tenths of a second, despite Canada celebrating their gold. After the game, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin held a speech, congratulating the winners and stating that the Russian people had hoped for more than the bronze medal (Russia defeated team USA in the bronze medal game). Gulag next for Ovechkin and his friends?
Team Canada’s road to the gold
Canada came to Russia as defending champions. They won all their games except for against Finland in group B. This placed them second in the group which meant a quarterfinal against Sweden who placed third in group A. The game against Sweden, that had one of the weakest squads in many years, was an easy 6-0 win. The semifinal against North American rivals USA was a bit tougher, Canada winning 4-3. It is good for the Ice Hockey World Championships that Canada is putting a good squad on the ice instead of just sending college players that they did a few years ago. Now, we only wish that Swedish players will stop turning down playing in the national team so we can once again compete for the gold. After this victory, Corey Perry is the latest player in the triple gold club of hockey, which consists of players that have won Stanley Cup, The World Championship and the Olympics.
Eight teams have been reduced to four after the quarterfinals in the IIHF World Ice Hockey World Championship 2016. In this post we write about the semifinals and the results from the quarterfinals.
Semifinals in the 2016 IIHF World Championship
USA – Canada
Comment: A classic all-North American showdown. Canada has the most talented team when comparing player by player, but team USA has a strong collective and are known to be able to execute a miracle every now and then.
Finland – Russia
Comment: Another classic match-up. Finland have a good record of defeating Russia in play-off games while Russia’s at home record in the World Championships/Olympic games is not great.
Results from the quarterfinals
Czech Republic 1-2 USA (after shootout)
Comment: Czech Republic made an excellent performance in the preliminary round, winning group A. However, against USA in the play offs, it was game over after the shootout. USA played an efficient and disciplined game. Auston Matthews became the big hero of the day with his equalizing 1-1 goal as well as deciding the shootout with his second of the game.
Finland 5-1 Denmark
Comment: Denmark stood up against Finland for a while, but then the “Lions” put the pedal to the metal. Any other result would have been the biggest surprise of the tournament. However, Danish hockey has taken some major steps forward and this year they had an entire line with NHL players.
Canada 6-0 Sweden
Comment: For some reason, many players from the NHL turned down the Swedish national team this tournament. The result was a major defeat against a Canadian team that was better everywhere on the ice. Sweden is dependent on getting their best players to the World Championships in order to fight for the medals, and this year, the Three Crowns were not even close.
Russia 4-1 Germany
Comment: Germany actually got the 1-0 lead against the host nation. Then, the Russians did like the Finns, stepping up their game and winning comfortably.
The preliminary round of The 2016 Ice Hockey World Championship is finished and so is the schedule for the quarterfinals.
Team – Points
Czech Republic 18p
Comment: Czech Republic has done a great preliminary round with victories against the toughest opponents, Sweden and Russia. The host nation, Russia, defeated Sweden in the last round and thereby does not have to face Canada or Finland in the quarterfinal. Two nordic teams from group A reaches the play offs!
Comment: Finland defeated Canada in the last round and thereby wins the group. Other than that, Canada has gone undefeated through group B. Germany is making progress in the IIHF Worlds and is rewarded with facing the host nation in the quarterfinal.
2016 Ice Hockey World Championship quarterfinals
Sweden – Canada
Comment: It is hard to see how Sweden’s Three Crowns should defeat Team Canada this year. Sweden has had a lot of players turning down playing in the national team because of the World Cup later this year. Although we still remember the shootout in the 2013 quarterfinal when Sweden later won the gold.
Finland – Denmark
Comment: Denmark’s journey ends here. Finland is one of the favourites to winning the gold this year.
Russia – Germany
Comment: Russia should simply be too good for Germany, however, they have failed to convert at home ice before and their opponents have nothing to lose.
Czech Republic – USA
Comment: This matchup is hard to predict. Czech Republic are favourites thanks to a great preliminary round. However, it is hard to assess Team USA; they are always a threat.