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USA vs. Slovakia, Finland vs. Czech Republic: before and after the quarter-finals

The 2021 IIHF, Ice Hockey World Championship, is almost coming to an end. The USA faced Slovakia in the quarter-finals while Finland was against the Czech Republic in a similar match. How had the teams fared before reaching the quarters, and which two teams proceeded?

The USA had won six straight games in the competition before the quarters. Their only loss has been to Finland, the defending champions. The defense has been the backbone of the 2021 U.S. team. Goaltenders Jake Oettinger and Cal Petersen have recorded some of the best stats in the competition so far. The U.S. has so far impressed on the penalty kill as just one goal has been allowed on 20 disadvantages. The amazing combination of Trevor Moore, Conor Garland, and Jason Robertson had amassed 20 points before the quarters. Brian Boyle has been a great replacement to captain Justin Abdelkader who suffered an injury. The U.S. had not been lucky in such games because out of the last nine quarter-finals before this, it had lost five.

Slovakia hasn’t been lucky in the championship since 2012 where it walked home with a silver medal. The last time that the team reached the quarter-finals was in 2013. The team had a lot of hopes under the stewardship of coach Craig Ramsay. The 25-year old Peter Cehlarik is one of the stars that Slovaks were banking on this competition. However, the team has not been impressive on penalty-killing as the team had lost 9 goals in the competition. The team had a hard time in the competition since their losing 8-1 to Switzerland.

 

How it turned out

The U.S. was focused on winning the match as they pulled a three-goal lead in the first period. The final score was 6-1. Colin Blackwell and Conor Garland scored twice for the Americans. Peter Cehlarik netted the consolation goal for Slovakia, going home without a medal for the ninth consecutive year.

 

 

The Americans are two wins away from winning the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship gold medal since their last in 1996. The best they have recorded in the 21st century are bronze medals in 2004, 2013, 2015, and 2018.

Finland vs Czech Republic

The defending champions had a solid lineup. The team didn’t appear overly dominant when they went to shootouts against Latvia and Kazakhstan and lost to the latter. However, Finland is known for its comebacks. Two years ago, Finland had finished 3rd in its group but beat ROC, Sweden, and Canada in do-or-die matches in Slovakia. Finland ended up winning the gold medal despite the bad start.

The Czech team was hard to describe. Even though the team looked lacking in-depth, they looked young and talented. Some of the players that Czech was banking on were Dominik Kubalik, Jakub Vrana, and Jan Kovar. They had a bad start after losing to Switzerland and ROC in the opening matches. After that, however, the Czechs recorded five straight wins to proceed to the quarters.

How it turned out

It was a goal game, and the Finns emerged as the winners. It was not until 35:55 that Jere Innala scored the only goal. The Czech had a scoring chance through Libor Sulak earlier in the game, but Olkinuora made the crucial save. The Czechs powerplay was only displayed during the last two minutes of the second period.

 

 

 

 

Based on the Youwager Review, hockey remains one of the major sports that sportsbooks have to focus on. Hockey is among the most-followed sports globally, with a 2 billion fan base. Will we have an underdog proceed, or should we expect the familiar faces in the finals? It is still early to determine who will win the gold medal, as hockey games are full of surprises.

 

 

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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