When the rosters were announced for the 2021 IIHF World Hockey Championships, it wasn’t a huge stretch to expect Canada to not be their usual dominant self given who was selected. At the same time though, I don’t think anyone predicted an 0-3 start to the tournament including losses to Latvia and Germany. The only real reinforcement they have coming is Andrew Mangiapane who is continuing the quarantine process. We all know what he can bring but I’m not even sure if he can lift Canada from their current misery.
Sweden, who is another traditional powerhouse in the tournament has struggled out of the gate as well, now holding an 0-2 record after losses to Denmark and Belarus. Among the biggest positive surprises, Kazahkstan is holding a 2-0 record through two games after a pair of shootout wins over Latvia and an upset over Finland.
Slovakia and Germany lead their respective groups with 3-0 records, something that likely has never happened before while Switzerland and Latvia sit 2nd in their groups. This truly is the tournament of the underdog and I think it will actually be great for the sport in some of these other countries to see their team getting a real shot at medaling. Four of the eight teams currently in a playoff spot have never won a medal at this tournament.
Here are the results from Day 3 and 4 of the tournament:
- Slovakia 2, Great Britain 1
- Norway 4, Italy 1
- Belarus 1, Sweden 0
- Kazakhstan 2, Finland 1 (SO)
- Switzerland 1, Denmark 0
- United States 5, Canada 1
- Slovakia 3, Russia 1
- Latvia 3, Italy 0
- Czech Republic 3, Belarus 2 (OT)
- Germany 3, Canada 1
The entire tournament standings can be found here. With just four games to play, Canada will need to win at least three, maybe even all four games to have a shot at qualifying for the playoff round.