2016 IIHF World Championship Report (Day 3)

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For North Americans, the World Championship is not necessarily the biggest measure of a hockey nation but the same can’t be said for Europe.

In that section of the world, the World Championship is the tournament to look forward to every year.

Every European country that plays hockey takes this tournament seriously and see it as the top championship in the world.

As seriously as every team takes it in Europe there may be no country that takes this tournament more seriously than this year’s hosts.

Russia is a hockey nation much like Canada as the sport is by far the most popular throughout the country.

That love of hockey has come through in the success that they have seen in international tournaments.

For years, the battle was Russia and Canada to determine who the best in the world was.

There was simply no other country that could compete with the talent in either of these nations.

To this day, Russia and Canada still produce some of the best talents in the NHL and as a result, they are regularly facing each other for gold medals.

Last year the Russians fell just short of taking another gold medal, what would have been their 28th in the World Championship when they lost to the Canadians.

For Canadians, it was a good tournament but one that nobody paid much attention to even when their country won the gold.

For Russians it was not acceptable as anything but gold is considered a failure for the Russian team.

They are expected to win every year and that has been the case this year, probably more than usual.

The Russians are hosting this year’s tournament and Russian fans are receiving a front row seat to their country’s attempt at taking home a gold medal.

The Russians are always under scrutiny in the World Championship but when they are in front of a home crowd every game that scrutiny only increases.

They have had some mixed results when the pressure is on as Russians have gained a reputation of inconsistency in major tournaments.

They have some of the best talents in the world but have regularly finished out of the medals even when everyone expects them to play for the gold.

When the team plays at their best and doesn’t let anything get to them they are very hard to beat.hockey-sidebar

When they begin to get frustrated and the pressure builds they make a lot of bad mistakes and can blow games that they were supposed to win.

That was the case this year when the opening game featured plenty of pageantry for the home crowd to see their team’s first game.

It wasn’t necessarily an easy opener as they were to take on the Czech Republic who came in as one of the top tier teams in this tournament.

Still the Czech Republic didn’t have the depth of skill that the Russians did and the Russians were expected to win the game for a good start to their home tournament.

That wasn’t the case though as the Czechs got past the Russians in regulation leaving them with no points after their first game.

It was a disastrous start to the tournament in the eyes of Russian fans as the Czech Republic was not supposed to be their biggest challenge in their group.

The Russian team has plenty of time to regroup though as the tournament is not a short one like so many others.

They came back for their second game on Day 3 and this time had a little easier of a match-up in Kazakhstan.

They took care of business on Day 3 as they beat Kazakhstan to earn their first points of the season.

It wasn’t the best performance though as the two teams were tied after the first period bringing plenty of panic to the home crowd.

Eventually, the Russians pulled away but a two-goal difference against a team that many thought was going to be fighting just to stay in the top division.

There are still some things to work out for the Russians but they are on the right path and if they want to avoid a major disappointment they need to figure things out before they face better teams.

The pressure is on for the Russians and so far they are barely getting a passing grade as the tournament continues and their home fans hope to see their team playing better and heading to the medals.

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Day 3:
Russia 6-4 Kazakhstan
– The Russians got their second chance after losing their first game and although it wasn’t necessarily pretty they took the win against Kazakhstan who had an upset in mind but fell just short of accomplishing the goal

Canada 7-1 Hungary
– The Canadians easily got by the Hungarians in their second game but Hungary did achieve something as they scored their first goal against Canada in 78 years at least leaving the game with some accomplishment

Norway 4-3 Switzerland (OT)
–  The Swiss were expecting a better start to their tournament but after losing their first game they were trying to get back on track against the Norwegians but once again they took a loss in overtime for the second game in a row

Finland 5-1 Germany
– The Finns were once again looking to Patrik Laine for leadership and he came through leading them to another win and staying on top of the group while Germany couldn’t keep up and falls to the bottom

Sweden 5-2 Denmark
– The Swedes didn’t start off their tournament great while the Danes had the opposite start and were looking to continue that momentum in their second game but Sweden returned to their usual selves putting up five goals to get their first regulation win

Slovakia 5-1 France
– The French had a good win in their first game but that same fight didn’t come through against tougher competition as the Slovaks put up five goals to take another win after two games as their tournament has started well

Day 4:
Latvia vs. Russia (Monday, May 9th; 9:15 am ET)
– The Latvians have already given every team trouble so far and the Russians aren’t playing their best hockey as they face off in what seems to be setting up as one of the big upsets of the tournament in front of the Russian crowd

Belarus vs. Canada (Monday, May 9th; 9:15 am ET)
– The Canadians continued their strong play from their first game with a second win and now they face another second tier team in Belarus hoping to continue their winning streak while Belarus is hoping to put up more of a fight

Sweden vs. Czech Republic (Monday, May 9th; 1:15 pm ET)
– The Swedes seem to be back on track after their second game but the Czechs have proven to be tough and after these two face off the winner will have the straight path to taking the top of the group

Finland vs. USA (Monday, May 9th; 1:15 pm ET)
– It is a match-up between the two top picks in this year’s draft as Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine go head-to-head with both trying to prove that they are the better players and trying to prove that they belong on top of the draft

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