2015 World Junior Championships Quarterfinals Preview

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Oct 30, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart (23) brings the puck behind Boston Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg (72) during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 World Junior Championships have completed their group stage and the knockout rounds have been set. All four Quarterfinal games, plus the first Relegation game, will be played on January 2nd.

Relegation Round – Switzerland vs. Germany

Switzerland and Germany will compete to retain their position in the Top Division for the 2016 World Junior Championships.

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Switzerland went 1-0-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in the group stage with their lone win coming against the Czech Republic, 5-2. They scored nine goals, which isn’t far off of the advancing teams, but gave up 18. That number is inflated with a 7-0 loss to Russia, but a 5-1 loss to Sweden did not help either. Timo Meier led the team in points with one goal and three assists while Kevin Fiala registered three goals in four games. The Nashville Predators’ 11th overall pick led the team in goals. Their closest result came in a 4-3 shootout loss to newly-promoted Denmark.

Germany had all kinds of problems in this year’s tournament, just scoring two goals in the entire competition. Both goals came in a 5-2 loss to Slovakia. Frederik Tiffels scored both goals for the Germans. The Western Michigan University prospect is currently not affiliated with a team and has 4 goals and 7 assists in 11 NCAA games this season. Germany will have quite the hurdle to overcome if they are to avoid taking Belarus’s place in Division 1-A next year.

It’s clear that Germany’s problem is scoring. To be fair, their defense gave up 17 goals in four games as well. I think that Switzerland should be able to overwhelm Germany due to, well, being all-around better. Germany has played pretty badly this tournament and this relegation round shouldn’t even go past the second game, barring a sharp turn of play.

Prediction: Switzerland in 2

Quarterfinal 1 – (1A) Canada vs (4B) Denmark

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils /

New Jersey Devils

Denmark did not record a regulation win in the group stage and went 0-1-2-1 and advanced by virtue of head-to-head. In their first game, Denmark nearly pulled off the upset against Russia, but lost in an unfortunate shootout result. The next game, they were overwhelmed by Sweden and then followed it up with with an overtime loss to the Czech Republic. They finished things off with a shootout win over Switzerland to narrowly advance. Denmark has been led by Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand. The 2013 3rd-round selection has four goals and one assist.

All of the attention was on Connor McDavid and Canada to prove to the world why they continue to put forward the best hockey players in the world. They crushed Slovakia 8-0, handily defeated Germany 4-0, took care of Finland 4-1 and defeated the United States to win Group A, 5-3. McDavid only has a goal and three assists in the competition to this point. All of the attention has been on Sam Reinhart, Max Domi and Nic Petan. Reinhart (BUF) has eight points (3 G, 5 A), Domi (ARZ) has 4 goals and 3 assists, while Nic Petan (WPG) has one goal and six assists.

Canada has been thoroughly dominant this tournament and that should continue against Denmark. Credit has to be given to Denmark to earn promotion to the Top Division last year and staying here for the 2016 competition. They had a valiant fight against Russia, but crumbled under the pressure.

Prediction: Canada

Next: Quarterfinals 2, 3 and 4