IIHF World Championships Semifinal Preview: Canada One Win Away From Gold Medal Game

Canada's forward #98 Connor Bedard celebrates with his team-mate Canada's forward #14 Dylan Guenther after he scored during the IIHF Ice Hockey Men's World Championships match between Canada and Denmark in Prague, Czech Republic on May 12, 2024.

The 2024 IIHF World Hockey Championship is in full steam, and the round robins are now behind us. After a great quarterfinal round, the final four teams will face off in Semi-Final action, looking to decide what medal they’ll be closing out their weekend in pursuit of. This includes Team Canada, who are hoping to bring home their second consecutive gold medal. Let’s look at their game against Switzerland and the rest of Saturday’s schedule.

Bet on Canada vs. Switzerland

CAN -208
SUI +160

Bet Now!

10:20 a.m. Semi-Final Matchup: Canada vs. Switzerland Predictions

Canada is now one game away from a golden opportunity, but in their way remains a country that has historically been pesty against them.

Their quarterfinal game against Slovakia was ultimately a comfortable win, but it had a moment of concern in the third period. Jared McCann and Pierre-Luc Dubois opened the scoring for early in the first period, and after Peter Cehlarik halved the lead, Canada added three more, including two goals in 20 seconds to start the third period. But, like they have a few times in this tournament, things seemed to slide downhill. The Slovaks responded with a goal less than 30 seconds after Canada’s pair, and with three minutes to go, they cut the lead down to 5-3. Thankfully, Nick Paul added his second goal of the game with 50 seconds remaining to seal the deal.

For Switzerland, they held pretty firm control over their quarterfinal matchup against Germany, with Christoph Bertschy leading the way. Bertschy, who was drafted by Minnesota in 2012 but only played nine NHL games, scored two goals in this affair, opening up the scoring in the first period and adding the empty netter in the final minute. The end result was a 3-1 victory where the Swiss outshot the Germans 25-15 – a dull, efficient affair.

That’s been the Swiss game for decades, at almost all levels and ages. Play tight defence, look for counterattacks, and hope for the best. Canadian fans still have nightmares of Martin Gerber and his speedy skaters shutting us out in the 2006 Olympics, and that playstyle has, by and large, remained – but now with more talent to get the needed goals than ever. Canada will need to come at their opponents in waves and take early control of the game to secure a comfortable victory.

IIHF Other Quarterfinal Matchups

Away TeamsportsinteractionsportsinteractionHome TeamStart Time
Sweden-154+120Czechia8:20 a.m. ET
Canada-208+160Switzerland12:20 p.m. ET

On the other side, Sweden takes on Czechia in a battle of the stingy. Both teams crawled across the finish line in their quarterfinal matches.

As we noted in our quarterfinal preview, Sweden was the clear favourite in their game. However, facing their arch-rivals in Finland was always going to be a tough task, and that was quickly proven. The game was scoreless until the 55th minute when Rasmus Dahlin put Sweden up 1-0 with his second goal of the tournament. With 58 seconds to go, Hannes Bjorninen equalized for Finland, forcing overtime. After the Finns took a hooking penalty, Joel Eriksson-Ek deflected a Victor Hedman point shot to lead the game.

For the Czechs, it was a big upset against the United States that got them to this stage. After keeping the first period scoreless, Boston Bruins centre Pavel Zacha put his country up 1-0 seven minutes into the middle frame. Despite being outshot 36-28 by the Americans, Czechia kept things locked down, with Anaheim Ducks netminder Lukas Dostal coming up huge with the shutout.

The books favour Sweden in this matchup, and I would tend to agree. Their depth remains undeniable and I think they’ll be hungry to provide more offence after a relatively quiet night against the Finns. For the Czechs, it feels like keeping things quiet was more strategical, and they’ll try it again, but it’ll be hard to repeat.

2024 IIHF World Championship Futures Update


Canada and Sweden are unsurprisingly still the leaders on the board, and I’d be hard-pressed to recommend you take either underdog to strike twice at this point. But the option is available for you should you want it!