The IIHF World Championship held their quarter-final games today and they didn’t disappoint for the fans in attendance. Three of the four contests ended up as one-goal games, with fireworks in the last few seconds of the Canada-Switzerland game taking the highlight of the night. New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson scored with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock in regulation to tie the game, before Mark Stone put Canada through to the semi-final in overtime.
Finland shocked the tournament by knocking off the Swedes in a back and forth game, which needed a tying goal from their captain with the goaltender out of the net. Finland would complete the comeback in overtime, sending Sweden—who many considered a favorite given their star-studded lineup—home without a medal of any color.
Team USA will suffer the same fate, as they were knocked out by the powerhouse Russian squad in a matchup they would’ve avoided if possible. The American squad finished in fourth in Group A during the preliminary round thanks to an unfortunate loss to Slovakia in their first game. Potential first-overall pick Jack Hughes ends his tournament with two assists today (three total) and was named the best player of the game for the USA.
Canada will move on to take on a Czech squad who easily dispatched Germany in the fourth quarter-final game, thanks to a three-point effort from Jan Kovar. While Canada is always a dangerous country in international hockey, their team this year didn’t look dominant on paper. That was shown by them barely squeaking through against Switzerland, meaning the Czech should feel just fine about their chances at this point.
There is no shortage of talent on the Russian squad, including Mikhail Sergachev and Nikita Gusev who both had three points in the game today. That’s not what people were saying about Finland before the tournament started, who have only a handful of players with any NHL experience at all. Still, the Finns are extremely well coached and have a 18-year old star in the making in top draft prospect Kaapo Kakko that can create offense at any moment.
This is the last high level hockey for NHL stars out of the playoffs, meaning they can give their all before having a summer of recovery. Sunday will bring with it the gold and bronze medal games, so get your vote in now for who you think will win!
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