The WJC preliminary round is over for another year, and the surprises all happened on the last day. While it’s not totally shocking that Finland didn’t really turn up for their game against the USA, which the Americans won 4-1, the Russian defeat of Canada was a big surprise to most of the partisan crowd and most watchers of this tournament.

Russia has, once or twice, saved it for the last day. And Finland has been known to start strong and then fade, too. So maybe this was all more probable than we thought.

Wednesday, January 2 is quarterfinal day, and every team is playing. The quirk of the WJC format, where two teams go to relegation games and everyone else goes into the quarterfinals is that no one has been excused from playing yet. Four teams will go home early after Wednesday’s action, while the relegation games continue, if necessary, to the final day.

Player Statistics

One surprising thing to come out of the preliminary round is a fair number of very good players who have very few points.

Ryan Poehling of USA leads the points standings with five goals and three assists. Morgan Frost of Canada has four goals and three assists, and Max Comtois of Canada and Philipp Kurashev of Switzerland have five goals and one assist. A lot of Canadians, Americans and one Russian fill out the top 10.

Missing is Filip Zadina, Martin Necas, Eeli Tolvanen, Kaapo Kakko and Klim Kostin. Also missing is Jack Hughes because he hasn’t played many games because of an injury.

The top goalie by save percentage after the preliminary round is Russia’s Canada killer Pyotr Kochetkov with .964. Second is Lukas Dostal of Czechia with .96, third is Luca Hollenstein of Switzerland with .958 and Michael DiPietro of Canada is fourth with .957. No one else is above .93.

Sweden’s Samuel Ersson is eighth with a not very impressive .914, and yet he is undefeated in three games.

Rasmus Sandin is one of several players tied for 15th with two goals and two assists. Three of his four points came in the final day against Kazakhstan, but it was enough to make him third in points for Swedes.

Filip Kral had an empty net goal on his last day in the preliminary round for his only point of the tournament so far. The Czechs have been a very low-scoring team, with only eight goals for, so his assist opportunities have been a little limited.

Pontus Holmberg has been kept pointless in his four games so far, but he’s been a factor in the games, so while I’m sure he’d like to score, no one is too concerned about his play.

Ian Scott appeared in one game and had a save percentage of .882 in the win over Switzerland.

Quarterfinal Schedule

Sweden vs Switzerland at 4 p.m. Eastern time

Watch on TSN 3, 5 and or NHL Network in the USA

Canada vs Finland at 6:30 p.m.

Watch on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 and

USA vs Czechia at 8 p.m.

Watch on TSN 2 and or NHL Network in the USA

Russia vs Slovakia at 10:30 p.m.

Watch on TSN 3, 5 and or NHL Network in the USA


With Canada’s second place finish in their group, they cannot get to the final now without going through Sweden first. The most likely winners in the quarterfinals are the top four teams: Russia, USA, Sweden and Canada. If Canada wants to repeat they will face either the USA or Russia on the last day if they get past Sweden. If Sweden wants to finally win this when it counts, instead of just 48 straight preliminary round games, they need to knock out Canada in the semifinals.


Czech Republic



Semifinal Schedule

The winner of the Russia game plays the winner of the USA game in the first semifinal. The winner of the Sweden game plays the winner of the Canada game in the second semifinal. Both semifinals will be played on January 4.

Semifinal one is at 4 p.m., and semifinal two is at 8 p.m.

Both games are on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 and or NHL Network in the USA

Medal Games

Both medal games are on January 5. The bronze medal game goes first at 4 p.m., and the gold medal game begins at 8 p.m.

Both games are on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 and or NHL Network in the USA