2018 World Juniors Report (Day 2)

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With only two games on Day 2 of the tournament, there wasn’t a lot going on for the major part of the tournament.

The game involved meant very little to the top of the standings in either group as they weren’t between the better teams in the tournament.

Still, they went on and with the Canadians dominating the Slovakians things kept turning as they usually do, not changing much.

There was a game that did have an impact though and although it might not be as big as many of the other battles going on for the two teams involved it meant everything.

Switzerland kicked off their tournament with what many see as the biggest game of their entire round robin.

Although the Swiss are one of the few middle-of-the-road teams that rarely see relegation their opening game against Belarus was a big one.day2.jpg

A win against Belarus would all but ensure their spot in the top division for another year and for these smaller programs that is always the goal.

The big programs would consider a trip to relegation the worst possible thing to happen to them in the tournament.

Finland experienced that last year as they were a team that struggled throughout the tournament and found themselves near the bottom of the standings.

They were forced into the relegation round and although they took both of the required games to stay it was one of the worst tournaments ever.

They had done the unthinkable and sunk to the point where their spot in the top level of the tournament was at risk.

For the best teams coming even close is a sign of something seriously wrong with their program but that isn’t the case for every team.

Some teams live on that edge always entering the tournament with the main goal of simply staying in the top level of the tournament.

These teams come into the tournament at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to talent as they don’t compare to the major teams.

They are good teams but they aren’t good enough to compete regularly with the best teams unless the best teams have an off year like the Finns did.

Instead, they come in looking at a stay in the top level as their version of a gold medal with a very different idea of accomplishment.

Although the Swiss are not necessarily a team the constantly plays on the edge of the two divisions.

Instead, they are a team that tends to consistently make the top level and stay there although they rarely find a medal in the top level.

They are that middle-of-the-road team that is good but not quite good enough and although a medal is the goal for them there is always possibility of making the relegation round.

Usually, they will go through an entire tournament losing to the big teams and having to beat the smaller teams to get their chance at a medal.

hockey-sidebarSo although they are not the team that needs to constantly worry about the relegation one key loss can put them on the wrong side of things.

Their tournament will not necessarily hinge on the games against Sweden or Russia but when they take on Belarus and Czech Republic their tournament will be defined.

On Day 2 they got the first chance to define their own tournament when they took on the Belarussians.

A loss to Belarus would put a lot of pressure on the Swiss to beat the other better teams in order to stay out of last place.

They would need to beat the Czechs and a win against a bigger team would certainly be the guarantee they need to stay in the top level.

A win against Belarus would change that story as they would have the three points they need to stay ahead of the Belarussians.

The Swiss got the win they needed and their spot in the top tier of the tournament is not necessarily assured but it is off to a great start.

Now they move on to the rest of their tournament looking to make a bigger impression as the playoffs seem to be in their future.

The Belarussians took the loss and it seems like they are not going to be staying in the top tier after two straight losses.

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