2016 IIHF World Championship Report (Day 10)

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Just when everything seemed to be taking a predictable path in the World Championship, Day 10 came around and changed the playoff race.

Heading into Day 10 there were a few teams that seemed clearly headed to the playoffs after clinching their spots.

The tournament started with some interesting games as top teams struggled against teams they should have easily beat.

Those games set up what looked like an interesting fight for the playoffs as the tournament moved on.

Except in the middle of the round robin, many teams began to take control with only a few surprises at the top.

Nobody expected the Czech Republic to rise to the top of Group A although they were expected to be a playoff team.

They did just that though and clinched one of the first spots in the playoffs.

Behind them, the Russians were not playing their best but eventually found their groove and predictably clinched a spot in the playoffs.

In Group B, it was as expected with Canada and Finland rising to the top of the group with great performances.

What was more surprising were the teams below the top two as the final two playoff spots became a much better battle than many thought.

Sweden couldn’t keep pace in a few games and entered Day 10 still in danger of missing the playoffs.

Switzerland and Denmark were sitting right on the edge trading the final spot with inconsistent play.

Meanwhile, a good start kept the Latvians in the hunt but in need of some help and plenty more points.

In Group B, the USA had been unable to find their groove to get a playoff spot but were not far off heading into their second last game.

Germany, Slovakia and France were all ready to fight for the final spot as well and potentially to eliminate the Americans from the playoffs altogether.

For the USA and Sweden Day 10 meant two important games where they could clinch a spot in the playoffs.

The advantage for both teams was the fact that the games they were set to play were not against the top teams in the tournament.

They were against teams that both teams could beat and were expected to beat in Switzerland and Germany.

It turned out that neither team took advantage of the match-up as both had a tough time in each game.hockey-sidebar

The Swiss pushed, Sweden as far as they could and although they lost in the shootout they still got a point.

That point is essentially in the Swiss’ playoff run as they moved ahead of Denmark, who took two points earlier in the day.

With the point, Switzerland holds a playoff spot while Sweden took two points to give them a guaranteed playoff spot.

In Group A, the Americans couldn’t handle the Germans who leant on their recently arrived goalie, Thomas Griess.

His 31 saves held the Americans in check and a late goal by Korbinian Holzer put them ahead for good.

The German win gave them a playoff spot in a great turnaround for the tournament while the loss sent the Americans down in the standings and has them needing a win against Slovakia to earn a playoff spot.

The USA went from a top team to fighting for the playoffs while the Swedes had to fight just to get into the playoffs.

If the end of the tournament shows anything it is that the world of international hockey is getting more interesting.

There still may be a few teams that are far better than the rest and are running through most of the tournament but there are more teams fighting for the playoffs than before.

The hunt for a berth in the quarter-finals is getting better every year and this year has continued that pattern.

There are more teams involved in the fight as the last games are played with plenty to play for in the next two days.

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Day 9:
Denmark 2-1 Czech Republic (SO)
– The Czechs had been great all tournament looking like a real team to beat but the desperation of the Danes to stay in the playoff hunt was too much to overcome as Denmark pushed the Czechs to a shootout where they took an important two points

Germany 3-2 USA
– The Americans were still looking to clinch a playoff spot and avoid a late tournament collapse but a late goal by the Germans kept the Americans on the edge as Germany took three points and leap-frogged over the USA for a playoff spot

Sweden 3-2 Switzerland (SO)
– The Swiss were not going away quietly as the Swedes once again could not put a lower team away being pushed into a shootout but still taking two points to get them a playoff spot while the Swiss continued their fight for the final spot in Group B

Finland 3-0 Slovakia
– In their pursuit of the top spot in Group B the Finns were looking to avoid the theme of the day and they did just that taking over the top spot before their face-off against Canada while the Slovaks good start is beginning to fall apart

Day 10:
Russia vs. Norway (Monday, May 16th; 9:15 am ET)
– With the new players already having an impact, this game is a simple one for Russia they want to ensure that they continue firing on all cylinders before the playoffs while Norway is trying to gain any points they can before the end of their tournament

Canada vs. France (Monday, May 16th; 9:15 am ET)
– The Canadians are still in a tough fight with the Finns for first place and they will look to keep pace against the French in getting the win and setting up a first-place showdown against Finland while France is still fighting for the playoffs

Denmark vs. Kazakhstan (Monday, May 16th; 1:15 pm ET)
– Kazakhstan is set to move down next year but they can still play spoilers and the Danes need a win to help them in the playoff hunt while a loss puts their chances in danger as the Group A playoff hunt is only getting tighter

Germany vs. Hungary (Monday, May 16th; 1:15 pm ET)
– Germany had their best win against the Americans with their new goalie starring and now they look to keep the momentum and head to the playoffs while Hungary is trying to take any points to help them stay in the top division

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