Saturday, January 2, the quarterfinals in the 2016 IIHF World Juniors are played. In the group stage we have seen some good entertainment on the ice as the teams have fought to get a good position in the play offs. Below are the match-ups for the quarterfinals.There will also be a regulation round (best-of-three) in which Belarus and Switzerland will fight for their survival in the tournament. These games are played January 2,3 and 5 (if needed).
Quarterfinals, World Juniors 2016
Russia – Denmark
Denmark have made it to the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Their most important game was the 2-1 victory against Switzerland. However, against Russia in an elimination game they have reached the end of the tournament. Russia won group B and have yet to be tested in this tournament. They will face the winner between USA and Czech Republic.
Finland – Canada
The host nation Finland have had their up and downs in the tournament. In a couple of games they have struggled early but managed to come back. Now there are rumors about a stomach flu among the teams. Hopefully this will not have an effect on their performance in the quarterfinals. We are unsure about exactly how good Canada is this year. They got defeated by both USA and Sweden the group phase but they can never be ruled out in a tournament.
Sweden – Slovakia
Sweden won group A. They have not been defeated for 36 games in the group phase of the World Juniors. For nine years in a row they have won their group. However, they have only a total of two gold medals, the latest in 2012. In this year’s tournament they have played as convincing as ever, with a good mix of physical, defensive play and offensive qualities. They are favourites against Slovakia, but we must remember that it was Slovakia that won the bronze medal between the two teams last year.
USA – Czech Republic
USA is one of the main favourites of winning the gold. They lost a tight game to Sweden in the group stage, but many argued that they were the better team. They should be able to eliminate Czech Republic, but you never know where you have the Czechs..
Predictions, World Junior quarterfinals
We think the following teams will face each other in the semifinals:
Sweden – Canada
USA – Russia