2016 IIHF World Championship Report (Day 7)

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The tournament is getting closer to the playoffs as many teams have passed the halfway point and are beginning to figure out exactly where they stand.

As the playoffs approach, the best teams need to be gearing up for their toughest tests yet.

When the playoffs begin they are taking on the top half of the teams in the tournament and often just skating by is not a possibility.

The problem for the few teams that make up the best teams of the tournament is that many of their group games they can simply glide along and win easily.

Teams like Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the USA are rarely challenged by the other teams.

They head into the round robin with a fairly easy schedule that allows for a few tough games.

These teams look forward to their match-ups against each other and usually only have a few games in the round robin against each other.

The rest of the schedule is filled with teams that are never really a challenge, or at least shouldn’t be a challenge.

So when the top tier teams take on the other teams in the tournament they can make mistakes but not pay for them.

Undisciplined play or bad passes won’t lead to goals for the other team and they can still get by with a win.

The biggest problem for these teams is that those games can lead to a team get too comfortable with not playing their best.

Then when they enter the bigger games they get caught playing in the same way and when they take on better teams the mistakes they were getting away with all of a sudden become much bigger.

The best teams will take advantage of a mistake and make the other team pay.

Those mistakes could mean the difference between winning a medal and being eliminated early in the playoffs.

It is an issue that many teams have fallen in some of the biggest games because they simply got too comfortable.

It is an easy thing for a top team to do when they are putting up big numbers with sheer skill leading them.

It is the worst thing when they play a team that matches their skill and all of a sudden winning or losing becomes much more about their system and creativity rather than raw skill.

The best thing for a team is to get into a game that wakes them up and gets them to start playing a complete game.

The Canadians had a game like that on Day 7 when they took on the Germans.

The Canadians went into the game with four games left mostly against the second tier teams in the tournament.

On Tuesday though they were set to face Finland which could be the game for the Group B title and a better match-up in the playoffs.hockey-sidebar

The Canadians hadn’t had much of an issue with any other team this year even getting by USA with a 5-1 win.

Their only challenge in the group is the Finns who have plenty of scoring talent on their team.

As a result, they have had a tournament that never really forced them to play a great game.

They could make mistakes and not really pay for them in a big way and head into their Finland game they may have issues with getting too comfortable.

The Germans were the latest in a game that was not supposed to challenge the Canadians but they weren’t ready to easily give in.

The Canadians went ahead early 2-0 in what seemed like a typical game until they were shut out in the second period and the Germans tied the game.

The Canadians were all of a sudden in trouble for the first time since the Americans went ahead early in their first game.

Eventually, the Canadians put up three goals in the third period but more importantly for the team it was a wake-up call that they may have needed.

It may very well get them back on track with their last few games to go and a date with the Finns that will be their biggest game yet.

The Canadians aren’t the only team that has experienced their wake-up though as the Russians got their early and have only improved since their opening game loss to the Czech Republic.

The Swedes got theirs as well when the Latvians took them to overtime in their first game while the Finns had a tough game against the Americans.

There are plenty of teams that have received their wake-up call the question will be if they take it seriously enough as they head into more important games and if they can step up their game heading into the playoffs.

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Day 7:
Czech Republic 7-0 Norway
– The Czechs continued their strong tournament and stayed at the top of Group A with an easy win over Norway who took another loss and fell further back in their pursuit of a playoff spot this year

USA 4-0 France
– The USA and France have had a long and complicated relationship and they got to take that to the ice where the Americans were led by top prospect Auston Matthews who helped them to a win that got them back into a playoff spot

Russia 10-1 Denmark
– The Russians didn’t start the tournament well but have picked up speed just before reinforcements arrive and they showed that against the Danes with a big 10-goal output with the home team only getting better as the playoffs get closer

Canada 5-2 Germany
– The Germans put up a fight as the Canadians did not play their best game allowing the Germans to tie the game in the second before scoring three in the third period to take their fifteenth straight World Championship win

Day 8:
Czech Republic vs. Kazakhstan (Friday, May 13th; 9:15 am ET)
– The Czechs hope to continue a great tournament as they look to run through the second tier teams including Kazakhstan with the Czechs hoping to stay on top of the Group A and get closer to that top playoff positioning

USA vs. Hungary (Friday, May 13th; 9:15 am ET)
– The Americans may not have had the strongest start to the championship but they are starting to hit their stride in the second half and hope to continue that against Hungary who is looking for their first point of the tournament

Denmark vs. Latvia (Friday, May 13th; 1:15 pm ET)
– Latvia looked like they were going to surprise everyone this year and truly start competing for a playoff spot but a hot start has cooled off as they try to get back on track against Denmark, another team looking for a playoff spot

Germany vs. Belarus (Friday, May 13th; 1:15 pm ET)
– The Germans tested the Canadians in their last game and now they hope to get a win against Belarus to keep their playoff hopes alive while Belarus is coming off of their first win of the tournament and looking to continue the momentum

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