The Quarter Finals of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships (WJHC) 2020 are here. The stage is set as Canada will face off against Slovakia, while the USA will take on last years’ champions the Finns.
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We also have coverage of the other quarterfinal between, as well as Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Canada will be confident of progressing to the semi finals, given the fact they’ve only lost one game on the road to the quarters so far. Finland don’t look as strong as they did last year, but never count them out!
Who will progress to the semi-finals? Our future picks can be found here.
Which team are you cheering for in today's #WorldJuniors quater-finals action? @HC_WJC vs Slovakia@SwissIceHockey vs @russiahockey @Trekronorse vs @narodnitym @usahockey vs @leijonat pic.twitter.com/HyQ6ku5LzR— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 2, 2020
Canada (1.02) vs Slovakia (31.86)
Canada are the odds on favourite in the bookies eyes, as they were before the tournament began, and will go into this one with a head-to-head record of 11-0-1 against the Slovenians.
Although they are still looking likely to progress to the semifinal, they were handed a wake up call against the Russians losing out to a 6-0 shutout. Since then, they’ve kicked on and look like a championship winning side.
They will be buoyed by the announcement of Alexis Lafreniere’s return, having missed the past two games due to an injury sustained during their 6-0 romping to Russia. Thought of to be their best player, Canada will feel themselves in this one.
Slovakia have had a slow tournament, only managing to tally up one win against the winless Kazakhstan taking that game 3-1.
They’ve allowed a tournament high of 22-goals over the course of their four games. They were hammered 7-2 by Finland, 7-2 to Switzerland and 6-2 to Sweden, which cause concern for the Slovakia team up against this Canada offense.
Take Canada to win.
RECAP | @BarrettHayton and @Dylan_Cozens had 1G 3A apiece, and 🇨🇦 scored 5 PP goals to beat 🇨🇿 7-2 and claim top spot in Group B.— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 1, 2020
📊📰: https://t.co/kTMqPbhgbq#WorldJuniors | @HC_WJC pic.twitter.com/wY6cW9uUFN
USA (1.49) vs Finland (4.42)
The USA will enter this one off the back of a dramatic win over the Czech Republic. Cole Caufield hit home the winning goal in the final minutes of the match, both Caufield and Turcotte have looked on form throughout the tournament.
The USA are down in the all-time series between the two teams, as Finland lead it 10-8 outright. The USA lost out in the 2019 Gold Metal match and will be hungry to avenge themselves in this one.
Finland’s Patrik Puistola is a sniper and has put up an average of 2.33 goals-per-game, so it’s worth noting that they are always in with a chance. We feel the underdog Finland could be worth a flutter, they’re the reigning gold medalists afterall.
We had to do an ice hockey pick for this one, as it’s going to be the game of the quarterfinals to watch. Both teams will be out and firing, don’t miss this one.
Finland come into this one having lost out to the Swiss team and the USA have looked the better side over the course of the tournament, so we feel they as the bookmakers do that the USA will progress to the semifinals.
Expect the USA to win this one.
Sweden (1.37) vs Czech Republic (5.70)
Sweden are are the only team in the championship to have won all of their group games, having beaten defending gold medalists Finland (3-2 in OT), Switzerland (5-2), Kazakhstan (6-2) and Slovakia (6-2).
Sweden came into the competition having won 48 games in the preliminary rounds of the World Junior Championship, a very impressive feat and one which they have carried into the World Championships.
The Czech Republic pulled off an impressive win, beating Russia 4-3 in their opening game. But have since lost to Germany (4-3), to the USA (4-3) and Canada (7-2).
The Czech Republic will be without the Arizona Coyotes young prospect Jan Jenik, who picked up an injury in Monday’s matchup.
Take Sweden to win.