2017 IIHF World Championship Report (Quarter-Finals)

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Somehow international hockey always seems to steer back to the top teams in the world with little there to stop them.

This tournament, it seemed like the top teams in the world might have seen a shock as not all of the best teams were playing their best.

The Russians and Americans struggled at the start of the tournament but found their way back while the Swedes were inconsistent throughout.

The Canadians were really the only team that played well the entire time but they even hit a bit of a bump in the road when they lost to Switzerland.

The biggest shocker was with Finland who struggled just to make the playoff despite their run through international hockey throughout the last few years.

The top teams actually looked vulnerable as the playoffs were set to begin and there could be some smaller teams, who were riding a high that might be able to launch an upset.

Yet like always the top teams stepped up when they needed to step up and when the playoffs began things looked a lot more typical.

Normally the quarter-final between the USA and Finland would have been a game where one of the top teams would be eliminated too soon.

But this time around the Finns were the team that not many expected to do well after a tough tournament.

The finished in last place barely making the playoffs while the Americans finished their tournament strong even beating the Russians in the final game to take first place.

This time a match-up of two of the bigger teams seemed more like a top team against a middling team.

That was until the Finns found their game as they were able to surprise everyone and take out the Americans.

It seemed so promising for the Americans as they entered the playoffs but the Finns shut them down not allowing a goal to move into the semi-finals.

A team that was expected to compete for a medal is back competing for a medal despite the fact that their tournament was far from medal worthy.

The Swedes were another team heading into the playoffs not necessarily playing their best and they were taking on a team perfectly set up to spring an upset.

The Swiss had already beat one of the best teams in the world as they handed Canada their first loss earlier in the round robin.

Finishing in second they were ready to beat the Swedes and upset the balance in the semi-finals but they couldn’t finish it off.

The Swedes took the win and they will move into the next round to take on their biggest rivals in the Finns.

It is an interesting match-up as neither team has been too dominant this year with both having their good and bad moments.

Whoever can put together a good game will be playing for a gold medal and will be a bit of a surprise regardless.hockey-sidebar

On the other side of the bracket, the Canadians were sitting on top of the group with one loss through the round robin.

Their biggest challenge was going to be getting past a team playing with a lot of motion in the host Germans.

After just making the playoffs the Germans were headed to Paris, a short drive from Cologne where their fans had come out in droves to see them make the playoffs.

The Canadians have handled the pressure before though and they did again taking an early lead and preventing a comeback to move into medal contention.

Now they take on a team they weren’t supposed to face this early in the tournament but a team that hit one bump to put them in the situation.

Russia was rolling along until they took on the USA and they landed in second place where they took on the Czechs who were their typical selves.

The Czech Republic has always been the best of the second tier but when it comes to the top teams they often struggle.

They did again when they faced Russia who shut them out on their way to the semi-finals.

Now Russia and Canada will once again take on the biggest rivalry in international hockey but this time it won’t be for a gold it will be for a chance to fight for gold.

The top teams are once again in the semi-finals and will be competing for the medals despite the issues that some of them had in the round robin.

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