IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GOLD MEDAL MATCH PREVIEW
2023-05-28 · 2 min read · IIHF World Championship/Hockey
For the gold medal match we have the Canadians back in the finals for the fifth time in six tournaments, up against an upstart German team; making their first ever appearance in this tournament's gold medal game. The Germans have now won six straight games and have proved they can never be counted out, after upsetting both group winners; Switzerland in the quarters and USA in the semis. Against the Americans they needed a tying marker with their goalie pulled and only a little over a minute left, then most of an OT period to pull out.
These teams play a contrasting style as Canada is all about puck possession and speed, while the Germans play a physical grinding style that often wears down opponents as the game goes on. The Canadian roster is full of NHL players and depth. While sporting some of the tourneys most exciting offensive talents, in players like Tyler Toffoli, Mackenzie Weegar and Adam Fantilli. Germany meanwhile only features three NHL players, but one of them is maybe the tourney premier defenseman in Moritz Seider; despite their success you have to think Germany is really feeling the lack of Leon Draisaitl and Tim Stutzle. Ironically despite their styles of play (or perhaps due to them) Germany is first in scoring efficiency, while Canada has a better penalty kill and save percentage. An important factor in these stats is that Canada has taken almost 100 more shots this tourney and they have incurred almost double the minor penalties (35-18).
I expect Canada to come out of the gate with an aggressive mentality and a desire to pepper the Germans with shots and net traffic. Germany will not be fazed by going down early, as they have come back a bunch of times in this tournament. Including the semis, winning both playoff games despite being outshot in each. Canada proved against Latvia, they can stay calm when the chips are down and keep the pressure on the other team. I won't be surprised to see Canada get an early lead and Germany make a ferocious push. A key element of this game will be the Canadians staying disciplined and out of the box. If Canada can play to its strengths, avoid bad penalties and keep the puck on their stick; it's hard to envision Germany getting past them. Can Germany pull off a third straight upset of a top-notch team or will Canada’s speed, depth and balanced roster power them to the top podium?
My pick - Canada 3-1
By: Chase Howard