The round robin portion of the 2021 World Junior Championships has been completed up in Edmonton. Switzerland and Austria are sidelined and won’t compete for medals. But eight teams remain and they’ll be vying for gold over the next few days.
It all starts with four quarterfinal match-ups that run all day Saturday! Here’s a quick breakdown of who remains in contention!

Germany (3rd, Group A) vs. Russia (2nd, Group B) [10:00 a.m. MT]

Round robin results:
  • Germany: lost 5-3 to Finland, lost 16-2 to Canada, won 4-3 over Slovakia (OT), won 5-4 over Switzerland
  • Russia: won 5-3 over United States, lost 2-0 to Czech Republic, won 7-1 over Austria, won 4-3 over Sweden (OT)
Germany is the feel-good story of the tournament, qualifying for the medal round despite missing several players due to COVID-19 quarantine guidelines. They’re led by 2020 draft picks Tim Stuetzle (Ottawa) and J.J. Peterka (Buffalo), but likely their fairy tale journey comes to an end against Russia. The Russians are deeper and more talented, and Germany’s primary hope would be to grind out a close, tight-checking win like the Czechs did in the round robin. They just don’t have the horses that the Czechs do, unfortunately.

Finland (2nd, Group A) vs. Sweden (3rd, Group B) [1:30 p.m. MT]

Round robin results:
  • Finland: won 5-3 over Germany, won 4-1 over Switzerland, won 6-0 over Slovakia, lost 4-1 to Canada
  • Sweden: won 7-1 over Czech Republic, won 4-0 over Austria, lost 4-3 to Russia (OT), lost 4-0 to United States
This game should be pretty good, all things considered. The Finns coasted against Group A’s lesser lights but ran out of steam against Canada. The Swedes had two great games and two so-so outings. Sweden is deeper than the Finns, so let’s give them a slight edge, but this should be an entertaining, fast-paced affair between these rivals where a big-time performance from a star player could be enough to tilt the balance.

Canada (1st, Group A) vs. Czech Republic (4th, Group B) [5:00 p.m. MT]

Round robin results:
  • Canada: won 16-2 over Germany, won 3-1 over Slovakia, won 10-0 over Switzerland, won 4-1 over Finland
  • Czech Republic: lost 7-1 to Sweden, won 2-0 over Russia, lost 7-0 to United States, won 7-0 over Austria
The Canadians haven’t lost yet and have won two decisive games and two blow-outs. The Czechs have been blown out twice and their wins were a trouncing of Austria and a checking-based win over Russia. Unless Canada forgets how to score goals, this one looks academic.

Slovakia (4th, Group A) vs. United States (1st, Group B) [8:30 p.m. MT]

Round robin results:
  • Slovakia: won 1-0 over Switzerland, lost 3-1 to Canada, lost 4-3 to Germany (OT), lost 6-0 to Finland
  • United States: lost 5-3 to Russia, won 11-0 over Austria, won 7-0 over Czech Republic, won 4-0 over Sweden
What a turn-around for the Americans, eh? After Spencer Knight got lit up against Russia, he and Dustin Wolf have combined for three shutouts as the Americans have out-scored their opponents 22-0. The Americans are fast, deep, and feel great about their ability to score and get big saves. This one shouldn’t be close.

Projected semi-finals

We’re predicting wins for Russia, Sweden, Canada and the United States – which would mean that all four Calgary Flames prospects involved (Yan Kuznetsov, Jakob Pelletier, Connor Zary and Dustin Wolf) would have shots at medals.
If these four teams advance, Monday’s semi-final games would break down like this:
  • Canada vs. Sweden
  • United States vs. Russia
(If Finland beats Sweden, then Canada would play Russia and the USA would face Finland.)