The quarterfinals at the 2018 IIHF World Championships are over, and as usual, there were some upsets.
In the first game to go against the standings order, Canada, who finished third in their Group, beat Russia, who finished second. The game went to overtime, and was won on a stunning pass from Connor McDavid to Ryan O’Reilly.
Canada used their deeper forward pool to overcome their deficiencies in net, and all they need to do is repeat that twice more and they’ll have the gold. Darcy Kuemper will likely start again, although there has been no official word on Curtis McElhinney’s reported injury.
In their quarterfinal, the USA had a bit more of a challenge from the Czechs than they likely expected, but they held on to win 3-2.
Sweden also struggled to solve Elvis Merzlikins in their match against Latvia, but they won it 3-2 as well. When you consider how close the Danes came to beating this Latvian team, Sweden’s struggles make it seem like there was a lot of parity in the teams this year.
Finland’s troubles certainly seem to indicate that too. In the upset of the day, Finland and Kasperi Kapanen were beat by the Swiss in a game that the Swiss held sway in from the very beginning. The Swiss were bolstered by the two Nashville Predators, but Roman Josi wasn’t the factor in the game you’d expect. Rather, the entire Swiss team skated fast, controlled the puck and totally disrupted the Finnish attempts at zone entry.
The Shots on Goal were close to even by the end, and considering the best offence in the preliminary round was chasing the play all game, that says the Swiss defending was absolutely amazing. The score finished 3-2 after the Finns pushed hard for the second half of the third period after they’d got their second goal. The unheralded Swiss goalie held firm, and the Finns are out of the tournament.
Both Semifinal games are on Saturday, May 19, and the start times have changed from what we’ve had up to now. All time are Eastern Time:
Sweden vs USA at 9:15 a.m. The television coverage begins at 9 a.m. on TSN 1, 3, 4 and 5
Canada vs Switzerland at 1:15 p.m. Begins at 1 p.m. on TSN 1, 3, 4 and 5.
The bronze medal game is Sunday at 9:30 a.m., and the gold medal game is Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
There is no relegation game, Belarus and Korea will drop down to Division I A play next year, replaced by Great Britain and Italy at next year’s World Championships.