IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTERFINALS PREVIEW

2023-05-24 · 3 min read · IIHF World Championship/Hockey
IIHF World Championship Quarterfinals Preview

Martin Rose/Getty Images | Getty Images

The IIHF world championship preliminary round is over, and the quarterfinals matchups are set; let's check them out.
  • This has the makings of a tight contest, where the winner feels likely to end up with a medal. Czechia has not had a strong tournament so far, but they have a deep and scrappy roster; that feels well-built to give the USA trouble. Czechia boasts the tournament's leader point and goal getter in Detroit Red Wings forward Dominik Kubalik (8 goals, 12 points). Czechia also boasts one of if not the top goalie in the tourney in Karel Vejmelka of the Arizona Coyotes who has only allowed four goals on 90 shots so far, giving him a .956 save%. The United States finished atop group A for a reason though, they are good on the puck and deep. USA leads the tournament with 34 goals scored and a + 26 goal differential. Honestly, I think if this game was played 100 times USA would pull out, but Czechia is a gritty team with a reputation for upsets, plus I'm feeling frisky.
My pick - Czechia 3-2
Germany Vs Switzerland
  • Easiest pick of the bunch, even though Germany is better than they often get credit for and have shown a penchant for comebacks; it is going to be an uphill battle for them against one of the tourneys top contenders. Switzerland has been amazing this tournament and despite losing their last game in OT to Latvia, they have to be feeling good coming into this matchup. Before Latvia, Switzerland had not lost a game going 6-0 and outscoring opponents 26-6. They have done a great job of controlling pace and protecting the net, while getting great goaltending. Germany will not lie down as they have no quit in them, they started the tournament with three straight losses, before bouncing back in big way to win four straight; including a 5-0 beatdown of France in their latest contest. Overall, I think Germany could win, but the Swiss are likely to be too much for them and wear them down as the game goes on.
My pick - Switzerland 5-2

Sweden vs Latvia
  • Latvia comes into this matchup after a gutty 4-3 OT over the previously undefeated Swiss team to secure a spot in the quarterfinal. Latvia, one of the host Nations, got off to a rough start with two consecutive losses. Since then they have been impeccable, winning five straight to earn a trip to the Quarterfinals. The Swedes saw their six-game winning streak come to an end, as they were defeated by the United States in their final preliminary game. Despite the disappointing loss Sweden still has to feel pretty good about their squad. Latvia has proved itself to be better than expected and a tough out, yet I'm definitely leaning towards Sweden; as they seem to have more depth and high-end talent on their roster. Latvia has had a great run, it's a shame their reward is likely to be tickets home courtesy of the Swedish team.
My pick - Sweden 4-2
Canada vs Finland
  • This feels like a finals matchup, whoever wins it is likely going to the gold medal game. Which is unsurprising when you realise that for the last three tournaments this was the finals matchup; featuring multiple one goal games. Finland has the edge going 2-1 in the last three gold medal games between these two powerhouses (Finland 2020, 2022, Canada 2021), perhaps that means its Canadas turn. Canada has been in the finals four of the last five tournaments, but only have got to the gold once. The Canadians should be hungry to get back to the final and get revenge on Finland for last year’s defeat. Finland is the reigning champ for a reason and sports one of the tourneys true gamebreakers in Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen. Overall, this feels like a game with high odds of being decided by who gets a good bounce at the right time.
My pick - Canada 4-3 (OT)
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By: Chase Howard

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