2019 Worlds: Quarterfinals field set
The US took the top spot in Group A while Japan squeaked in during the last game of preliminary play
The 2019 IIHF World Championship quarterfinals field is set! Of the 10 teams in the tournament, eight advance on — all five from Group A and the top three from Group B. The bottom two from B — Sweden and France — were automatically relegated.
Perhaps the most shocking result of the tournament is that Team Sweden, which made fourth place in the 2014 Olympics, continued its downward trend and was dropped to Division 1, Group A. The Swedes only won one game out of their four.
France was also relegated after their first trip to the top tier tournament. The newcomers had a decent showing including one overtime win.
US (A1) v Japan (B3)
- April 11 at 5:30 a.m. ET/
2019 World Championship Preview: Japan
Japan barely snuck their way into the quarterfinals after they beat Sweden in their final preliminary game. The sixth-place team at PyeongChang finished the preliminaries with two wins (Sweden and France), two loses, and nine goals scored.
The United States didn’t lose a single game in the preliminary round. They outscored their opponents by 23 goals (27 scored, 4 allowed), including a 10-0 rout of Russia in their final group play game.
Japanese goaltender Nana Fujimoto saw 99 shots over the four games, a number that’s bound to go up in this quarterfinal game. One thing that’s for sure is that this game will be a tough go for Japan.
Canada (A2) v Germany (B2)
- April 11 at 9 a.m. ET/
2019 World Championship Preview: Germany
Germany finished group play at 2-2, including two games that went to overtime. They scored seven goals and gave up eight. Perhaps their most exciting game came in their very first game when they took Sweden to a shootout, and won.
Canada only lost to the US in group play. They scored 19 goals but gave up 6. After not playing Marie-Philip Poulin in the first two games, the captain played in the third game of the preliminaries. However, it appeared that she re-injured the knee that she hurt in the final regular season CWHL game and didn’t come back into the game. She did not play in the fourth game either. Brianne Jenner assumed the captain’s C in her absence.
Honestly, based on past play, Canada should have no problem with Germany.
Finland (A3) v Czech Republic (B1)
2019 World Championship Preview: Czech Republic
2019 World Championship Preview: Finland
- April 11 at 12:30 p.m. ET/
The Czech Republic finished at the top of Group B, winning all four games. They scored 13 goals and allowed five.
Finland rounded out the top three in Group A play, going 2-2, and scoring 13 goals. The tournament host might be in some trouble. In the final game of group play against Canada, goaltender Noora Räty left the game after giving up three goals partially as precaution due to a slight injury. However, according to YLE, she was confident she’d be ready for the quarterfinals. Forward Sanni Hakala is out for the rest of the tournament, YLE reported as well. In addition, forwards Michelle Karvinen and Annina Rajahuhta were also injured in group play, though the severity is unknown.
Given all of the injuries to Finland’s roster, this game could be extremely interesting.
Russia (A4) v Switzerland (A5)
2019 World Championship Preview: Russia
2019 World Championship Preview: Switzerland
- April 11 at 11 a.m. ET/
Russia’s one win in preliminary play came against Switzerland on Day 2. The game came down to the final minute as Russia’s Olga Sosina scored with 37 seconds left in regulation. Switzerland lost all four games.
The two teams finished with a similar line. Both teams scored three goals. Russia allowed 20 — with half of them being scored in the final preliminary game against the US. Switzerland allowed 22.
These teams are closely matched, as their preliminary games showed. Besides the Finland v Czech game, this will be the other quarterfinal to watch.
The winners of the quarterfinals will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, April 13.
How to Watch: 2019 IIHF World Championships