2018 World Juniors Report (Quarter-Finals)

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Entering the quarter-finals there was an expectation for how the semi-finals were going to look in the end.

The only really challenging game to predict was going to the USA vs. Russia game that pitted two very good teams against each other.

Both came into the tournament with the chance of winning a gold medal but due to the Russians less than great round robin they slipped to third place.

That forced a tough match-up for the right to play for a medal that wasn’t going to be easy for either team.

It was the game that was going to be the most difficult in the quarter-finals as each team came in believing they could win.

The game turned out to be just as tough as many expected with both teams trading shots throughout the entire game.

The Americans came out on top with a third period go-ahead goal and took the win to play in the semi-finals.

The hosts will be guaranteed to play for a medal but will look to determine the colour of that medal in the semi-finals.

In the other games, there wasn’t a lot of drama as the Canadians easily got by the Swiss making good on the Swiss coach’s predictions.

The Swedes also continued their pursuit of the gold medal beating the Slovakians 3-2 in their quarter-final game.

Both games ended like many thought they were going to leaving little drama for most of the games.

It didn’t follow the pattern that was set to begin the day though as the first quarter-finals changed the face of the playoffs.

That is when the Finns struggled to get by the Czechs in their semi-final leaving the surprise team to move on to the semi-finals.

Finland has been a strong team for years with a lot of young talent on the team helping them to rise to the top.

They have often struggled with their consistency though as their tournament results have gone from finishing right at the top to finishing in the relegation round.

A year after winning the gold medal in 2016, the Finns were playing to stay in the top tier of the tournament in 2017.

Some thought they could bounce back like they had before but they didn’t seem like the same team that was good enough to win the gold medal.

Meanwhile, the Czechs were quietly rising through the ranks in the tournament looking like a throwback team.hockey-sidebar

For years the Czechs have struggled to make noise on the national stage at any level with their best era behind them.

The players that they had depended on for so long were too old to play and they weren’t producing any more great talent.

That left the Juniors and every other team without the stars they needed to compete putting them right in the middle of the pack.

That is where they were expected to be this year but they made a bold statement right from the start when they beat the Russians in their first game.

They were never really out of any of the other games even against the Swedes only losing 3-1 in a game in which many thought they were going to be overmatched.

Nobody was talking about them though as they were silently becoming a real contender in the tournament without a lot of fanfare.

They announced their arrival officially when they beat the Finns in a shootout to earn their spot in the semi-finals.

They will head into a game against the Canadians looking to continue to shock the tournament and end up playing for a gold medal.

The Canadians will need to be careful as they are a team that can pull off an upset if Canada isn’t careful.

They have shown that they can beat some of the best and if Canada doesn’t bring their A-game it could be over quickly.

In the other semi-final, the two teams that were favourites to win the gold will face-off trying to keep that hope alive.

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