2017 IIHF World Championship Report (Day 11)

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The IIHF World Championship will always bring surprises as big teams will lose to teams that many times have no business competing.

That is the nature of an international tournament where a few mistakes can change everything.

Teams don’t get multiple games against everyone as they have seven games to make their impression and if they make the playoffs there are no series to hide mistakes.

Instead, every game is an important one as one win or one loss for most teams can make the difference between making the playoffs or not.

Some teams can see single games make the difference between staying in the top tier or heading to Division I-A.

These tournaments increase the importance of every game with less time to recover for most teams.

The teams were it might not matter much are those top level teams that are guaranteed to win more games than they lose.

There is a danger in that though as those top teams can sometimes fall asleep and see their chances fall apart.

It is a real danger for the best teams in the world and it has had its effect in every tournament as inevitably a great team falls to someone they shouldn’t.

Sometimes it can begin to bury that team and before they know it they are just fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.

That is what happened to the Finns this year as they have finished 10 days in the tournament and still are not guaranteed a playoff spot.

From the start of the tournament, the Finns struggled to find their way after a few years where their team was one of the most exciting to watch.

The young stars coming out of the country are among the best prospects in the NHL and they are showing it at every level of international play.

The world championship was the next step as they pursued gold from the start but dropped unexpected games.

Now they sit just inside the playoffs heading into the final game against Canada on Day 11 while they watch closely as Norway takes on Belarus.

If the Finns can’t take a point against the Canadians and the Norwegians beat the Belarusians in regular time the tiebreaker could eliminate Finland.

They will try to handle their own business against the Canadians in a game that was supposed to be for first place in the group.

Instead, the Finns struggled while the Canadians have flourished in their bid to win a third straight gold medal.

It hasn’t been all easy for Canada though as they were shocked in Day 8 when they lost their first game to the Swiss.hockey-sidebar

Unlike the Finns though the Canadians used that loss to kick their game into another gear.

It is the nature of the tournament as there are teams that can collapse when they are exposed as maybe not being as good as everyone thought.

There are also teams that begin to fall asleep leaving a major opening and get by without every really getting woken up.

That can lead to major problems as they head into the playoffs where only the best teams are left for them to play.

If they don’t wake up before they see the best teams they could see an early exit and in Group B it was easy to fall asleep.

The Finns were the only challenge heading into the tournament for the Canadians and when they began to struggle there wasn’t much to play for besides waiting for the playoffs.

The Canadians have done this before and before they knew it their tournament was over when they played a motivated team that they should have beaten in the playoffs.

The Canadians got their wake-up call a little early though and could be grateful for the wake-up call coming against the Swiss.

They came back from their first loss by beating the Norwegians 5-0 and returning to their dominant form.

As they head into their final game against the Finns they will need to be careful not to think that the Finnish struggles are going to continue.

The Finns will likely play their best game and if Canada is sluggish they could fall exposing them to potentially a second place finish and a much tougher test in the playoffs.

The final game between these two teams is a match between two of the best in the world who have experienced what a tournament like this can do.

How they respond is the key factor though and so far Canada has shown that they can take a hit and keep moving forward which they hope to do on their final day.

day-11

Day 11:
Denmark 2-0 Italy
– Italy was taking their final shot at trying to get out of the relegation spot to end the tournament but the Danes were good enough to keep them from moving out of the bottom spot and finish their tournament on a high note

Canada 5-0 Norway
– After losing their first game of the tournament the Canadians rebounded well as they easily took out the Norwegians with five goals as they prepare for their biggest test of the tournament against the Finns

Russia 5-0 Latvia
– Latvia’s great start is beginning to fade as they took their third straight loss this time against the Russians as they continue to battle for the final playoff spot but didn’t do themselves any favours with a big loss

France 4-1 Slovenia
– The French ended their tournament on a high as they might not make the playoffs but they took another win this time against Slovenia who took a loss and will play next year in Division I-A after only a year up in the top tier

Day 12:
Sweden vs. Slovakia (Tuesday, May 16th; 6:15 am ET)
– The Swedes are already in the playoffs but they will look to gain some momentum as they head towards the playoffs and they take on Slovakia who will simply be looking to end the tournament with a win

Belarus vs. Norway (Tuesday, May 16th; 6:15 am ET)
– The Norwegians need this win if they want even a hope of making the playoffs as they have a slim chance of earning the spot from tiebreakers but the Belarusians are hoping to spoil the party and take a win

Russia vs. USA (Tuesday, May 16th; 10:15 am ET)
– It is an old rivalry that is present in everything that both of these countries do and they will once again meet on the ice with the Russians looking to go undefeated and the Americans hoping to spoil their great tournament

Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (Tuesday, May 16th; 10:15 am ET)
– The Swiss looked good as the tournament began to wind down and they will hope to continue that momentum and earn second place in the group in hopes of getting an easier matchup in the quarter-finals

Germany vs. Latvia (Tuesday, May 16th; 2:15 pm ET)
– It is the most important game of the final day of the round robin as the situation for both teams is pretty simple, win and your in as the home Germans look to take a playoff spot from the Latvians who are trying not to waste a great start

Canada vs. Finland (Tuesday, May 16th; 2:15 pm ET)
– It was supposed to be the game for the Group B title but now it is all about the Finns trying to solidify their spot in the playoffs with a win while the Canadians look to clinch first place and the best match for their quarter-final game

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