2017 IIHF World Championship Report (Day 3)

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The French did not have the start that they were hoping for when their tournament began on Day 2 against a team they should have competed with and possibly beat.

Instead, they lost against Norway and the one thing that worried some about this tournament seemed close to starting.

Last year they came within one win of being relegated a year before they were supposed to host the top tier of the tournament.

It wasn’t what anyone wanted to see especially the IIHF who wanted a competitive team to show up at home.

They stayed in the top tier but the team still wasn’t as competitive as they would have liked to seen from a team that was about to play at home.

When the tournament began the organisers gave the French a fairly easy start as Norway was not a massive challenge despite being a good team.

It wasn’t playing Finland or Canada in their opening game and beating Norway would have helped them to at least take a first shot at the playoffs.

Earning their first three points would have been a good start and beating Norway was not an insurmountable thing to do.

Yet they dropped their opening game, whether because they simply weren’t good enough or the nerves got to them in front of the home crowd the French now had a tougher hill to climb.

It wasn’t going to be easy either as they weren’t going to get an easy second game when they faced Finland on Day 3.

The Finns came into the tournament riding a high off of the last few years where all of their teams have been winning medals.

Last year they ended up in second place after losing to Canada in the final game and they were looking for another medal in 2017.

For France, it was a game that was never going to turn out well for them as they were likely just hoping to stay in the game longer than the first period.

France is not at the level of the Finns and they have never been but Finland looked shaky in their first game and they did look vulnerable heading into the second game.

Still, they were the team with a lot more talent on the roster and one that should have won the game.

France may have been able to keep it somewhat interesting with how the Finns were playing but overall they weren’t going to win.

That was until the Finns ran into Florian Hardy who took over in net from Cristobal Huet in a game where tiring out their top goalie was not the smartest option.

Hardy surprised everyone including Finland when he made 42 saves to help the French to the upset of the tournament, a 2-1 win.

It was a game that seemed to be over before it started but somehow the French pulled it off and all of a sudden they are back in the hunt.

When it comes to these tournaments teams need to take the wins where they can get them and usually teams like France can only get them against other teams sitting on the bottom.hockey-sidebar

When it comes to the bigger games against the great teams in the world it is almost assumed that they will lose.

Therefore, they need to find their points somewhere else and so when the French team lost to Norway it was three points that they could have taken all of a sudden gone.

When they lost the expectation was that they were going to lose to Canada and Finland leaving even fewer games for them to get the points they needed.

Beating Finland is a boost as they got their three points back from the Norway game and are back on track to have a good tournament.

If they can ride that momentum into a few more wins against the other teams that are not necessarily the consistent playoff contenders.

The surprise on Day 3 is one that has changed the tournament and the potential for how the groups pan out.

Finland is now vulnerable and after two games where they haven’t looked great there are questions about how they will go the rest of the way.

They were expected to be a medalist this year but so far they are not playing like a medalist.

Meanwhile, the French are now with three points and with those three points, they have a chance to move up and take a playoff spot.

If they can they will take a spot from another team and if they can beat some of the lower teams it will force those lower teams to fight out of relegation.

It could all be changing but there is plenty of time left for either team to see their fortunes reversed.

For France, it was a good day in front of a home crowd while Finland continues to try to get things together.

day-3

Day 3:
Russia 10-1 Italy
– The Italians showed up in their first game but they got their first big test on Day 3 when they took on a tournament favourite and didn’t put up much of a fight with the Russians taking an easy win over the Italians

Canada 7-2 Slovenia
– Canada continues their tour through the lower teams as they took on Slovenia with the Slovenians trying to put up a bigger fight but they weren’t able to beat the defending champions

USA 7-2 Denmark
– The Americans were surprised in their first game as they took a loss to the home Germans but they recovered well against Denmark taking an easy win and getting back on track towards the playoffs

France 5-1 Finland
– It was the surprise of the tournament so far as the French team took on a tournament favourite and they took the win thanks to a great performance from their goaltender that gave them an important three points

Latvia 3-1 Slovakia
– Latvia continues a strong tournament as they were able to get their second win of the tournament continuing their way towards a playoff spot with six points while the Slovakians had to settle for the loss

Switzerland 3-0 Norway
– The Swiss were looking to add to their point total after they were forced to overtime in their first game and they were able to come out on top to keep the playoff hopes alive and well against Norway

Day 4:
Germany vs. Russia (Monday, May 8th; 10:15 am ET)
– Germany came out of the gate well but struggled against the Swedes and now they get their toughest test before they enter the heart of their schedule taking on the Russians who have looked as advertised so far

Belarus vs. Canada (Monday, May 8th; 10:15 am ET)
– Canada tries to stay undefeated and not get ahead of themselves as they take on the Belarusians in a game that has tripped them up in the past but one that they should win to earn their third win this year

USA vs. Sweden (Monday, May 8th; 2:15 pm ET)
– After taking a loss to the Germans the Americans are trying to keep up with their point total and they will be in tough to do that against Sweden who stumbled out of the gate but are looking to be back on track now

Finland vs. Czech Republic (Monday, May 8th; 2:15 pm ET)
– For Finland, this is a big game as they have not looked like the team that they are supposed to be and now they are looking for a win against the Czechs to stay on track as they pursue another medal for their collection

 

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