Previewing the 2024 World Junior Championship medal round

Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
The round robin competition is complete and now the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in scenic Gothenburg, Sweden progresses to the important stage: the knockout medal round. Quarterfinal action begins bright and early on Tuesday.
Here’s our quick look at what you can expect when the games begin!

Slovakia vs. Finland (4 a.m. MT)

Slovakia: second place, group B; 3-0-0-1; 19 goals for, 16 goals against
Finland: third place, Group A; 1-1-0-2; 14 goals for, 13 goals against
On paper, this game is pretty fascinating. Slovakia has a roster chock full of NHL draftees – including Flames prospect Samuel Honzek – and they’re a balanced team overall. Finland has a better history of success at this event, but on paper aren’t quite as good as in previous years. They lost to Germany (the lowest-finishing Group A team) but beat Sweden (the highest-finishing Group A team).
This game feels like a pick ’em, and whoever finds their rhythm the earliest will probably win. We typically don’t recommend waking up at 4 a.m. for hockey, but this could be an exception.

Canada vs. Czechia (6:30 a.m. MT)

Canada: second place, Group A; 3-0-0-1; 21 goals for, 7 goals against
Czechia: third place, Group B; 2-0-1-1; 17 goals for, 13 goals against
The gold medallists from the past two tournaments have looked pretty good in this year’s event, but they were shut out by Sweden during the round robin in their only loss. Czechia had a pretty good tournament, but suffered losses to Slovakia and the United States.
On paper, Canada’s deeper and more talented than the Czechs. Unless Czechia’s netminder stands on his head, this feels fairly tilted towards Canada.

United States vs. Latvia (9 a.m. MT)

United States: first place, Group B; 3-1-0-0; 29 goals for, 9 goals against
Latvia: fourth place, Group A; 1-0-0-3; 6 goals for, 22 goals against
The United States is a wagon, having won all four games – often by many goals. Latvia is a scrappy underdog team that qualified for the medal round on tiebreakers over Germany.
On paper, this is the biggest disparity between quarterfinal opponents. The United States should win.

Sweden vs. Switzerland (11:30 a.m. MT)

Sweden: first place, Group A; 3-0-1-0; 17 goals for, 5 goals against
Switzerland: fourth place, Group B; 1-0-0-3; 11 goals for, 20 goals against
Sweden was superb in this year’s round robin, with the lone loss coming to Finland on the final day (when they had already clinched top spot). Switzerland is what they usually are: a really cohesive team that relies on good goaltending and strong checking to make up for a lack of high-end skill.
On paper, this is a Sweden victory, but the Swiss will make them work for it.
Which game from the quarterfinals are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!

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