The IIHF World Hockey Championship held its quarterfinals today, and, boy, was it spicy. Canada and the United States both advanced with convincing wins over Finland and Czechia, respectively, two strong teams that are always in the hunt for the medal.
But it was the two other games that really shocked fans. In the afternoon, Germany beat Switzerland 3-1 after killing Moritz Seider’s five-minute major, and scoring two goals quickly after. Switzerland never lost in regulation during the round-robin but fell apart with losses to Latvia and Germany to close things out.
The biggest shock came in the evening. In front of 9,200 people in jam-packed arena in Riga, Latvia scored twice in the third period to give themselves a 3-1 lead over Sweden, winning the game and advancing to the quarterfinal. It was the first time Latvia had ever advanced to the final four of any IIHF top division tournament, and they did it by just barely squeaking in with a win on the final day of the preliminary round.
We’ve got just two days of gameplay left to go, with Saturday playing host to two semifinal games in Tampere, Finland.
Canada vs. Latvia – 7:20 AM ET
USA vs. Germany – 11:20 AM ET
USA wins 3-0 over Czechia
- Can Cutter Gauthier (PHI) be stopped? He sits second with seven goals after scoring the 3-0 goal today, with good buddy TJ Tynan (LAK) assisting him. The pair have combined for 19 points and are definitely not done as the Americans are set to move on. But in Gauthier’s case, you can tell he has a pro-ready shot.
- Who knew Nick Perbix (TBL) could shoot like that? His wrister at 28:53 went right under the bar and in, giving Karel Vejmelka nightmares. Perbix isn’t known for putting up a ton of points, but that was a shooter’s shot.
- Matt Coronato (CGY) and Lane Hutson (MTL) continue to look like experienced veterans. The pair combined for the first goal when Hutson’s shot was stopped, only for Coronato to pick up the rebound and shoot it off a pair of skates in front. The two college students combined for a goals in the tournament and continue show that NHL experience doesn’t always matter. Coronato has a few games with the Flames under his belt already and will go full-time next year, while Hutson will head back to Boston University.
Canada shuts out Finland in 2022 gold medal rematch
- Jack Quinn (BUF) finally scored his first of the tournament, and it was a nifty one too, beating a Finnish defender before sliding it under Emil Larmi’s pad to make it 1-0 early in the first. Sabres fans love him for a reason, and he’s showing off in front of the world right now.
- Samuel Montembeault (MTL) has been one of the best goaltenders in the tournament. He made some big saves late and 27 saves total to keep the train moving. Do the Canadiens have a legitimate long-term No. 1 here? It’s been a spectacular season for the guy Montreal nabbed on waivers two years ago.
- One of the few AHLers in the tournament, Michael Carcone (ARI) scored a well-deserved goal at 42:54 to make it 3-1, putting the game far out of reach. He was the team’s 13th forward today, but played on various lines and seemed to fit in just about everywhere. He’s versatile.
- St. Louis Blues fans had to like seeing Jake Neighbours (STL) and Samuel Blais (STL) connect for the 2-0 goal. Blais’ struggles with the Rangers were well-documented, but he finished off strong with St. Louis and has been a good sparkplug for Canada. For Neighbours, he started as the 13th forward, moved up due to injuries and has looked good in spurts.
Germany stuns Switzerland to advance
- Kai Wissman’s (BOS) excellent tournament continues. He set up Maximilian Kastner for the 1-0 goal, a lead that would last for around 14 minutes of play for the Germans. His willingness to rush in from the point has made Germany so dangerous as of late.
- Jonas Muller had a pair of secondary assists, including one that helped set up the 2-on-1 goal that made it 3-1. The king of stretch passes and smart plays. He’s been underrated for the Germans.
- JJ Peterka (BUF) scored again, putting him third in scoring with 10 points. Peterka’s play as of late is a big reason why Germany has managed to get this far. Sabres fans should be thrilled with his, and Quinn’s play.
- It was the only goal of the game for Switzerland, but Jonas Siegenthaler’s (NJD) marker just 47 seconds into the second really sparked his team. It didn’t result in a win, but given he joined the tournament in progress, he looked good for Switzerland.
Latvia pulls off stunning upset over Sweden
- Arturs Silovs (VAN). Enough said. He’s making the case for tournament MVP.
- Talk about a confidence booster for Dans Locmelis (BOS). The 19-year-old scored his first World Championship goal, and it was the one that let Latvia lead until the halfway point in the game. That had to have felt good for someone who hasn’t played a lot. He’ll be a stalwart for the Latvians in the long run.
- Even though he took a penalty that led to a goal against, Timothy Liljegren (TML) a goal in consecutive games. It was a nice one, getting in close after taking a Lucas Raymond feed and firing it past Silovs. It was Sweden’s lone goal, but it’s been great to see Liljegren become so effective with the puck.
- Miks Indrasis, national hero? He scored the game-winner and then assisted on Janis Jaks’ 3-1 goal that put things away. The 32-year-old veteran had just two goals at his last World Championship in 2021, but with five points in eight games, this has been one of the best performances of his career. He picked a great day to have a great game.