Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 IIHF World Championship Update

There are three days left in the Preliminary Round of the 2013 IIHF World Championships, and to date, it's been a surprising and unpredictable event.

In Helsinki's Group H, Finland leads the way with 14 points from 4 wins, an overtime win and a a loss from six games played. Everyone else in the group, save Austria, has only played five games. That leaves the United States in a position to move to the top after their game today against Germany, as the US is 4-1 with 12 points, with 3 up for grabs for a regulation win in IIHF competition.

Russia currently lags behind with 9 points following their stunning defeat at the hands of France and a loss to Finland, but no one expects them to lose their next two games to Slovakia and Austria, so anyone with sights on winning the group will be aiming for a minimum of 16 points.

There is an intense battle coming to a head for the fourth and final playoff spot, as Slovakia and Germany are tied with 2 wins, 2 losses and an overtime loss, good for 7 points, while France is one point back with a 2-3 record, each with two games remaining but with France having an easier schedule remaining against Latvia and Germany.

Austria with 5 points will be looking to stay ahead of Latvia, who are at 3 points, but Latvia has two games remaining against France and Finland, while Austria has only one game left against a fired up Russian team in the battle to see which side will be relegated to Division I for next year.

Group S is currently being led by the only undefeated team in the tournament, Switzerland, who lead the competition in scoring with 22 goals in five games. The Swiss sit at 14 points with Canada right behind at 13, thanks to their shootout loss to the Swiss. Both teams have two games remaining.

Host Sweden has hit a few bumps in the road on their way to a 4-2 record. They have only one game left on their schedule, but their 12 points looks to have them solidly on track to advance to the playoffs.

The final playoff spot is down to Norway, 3-2 and 9 points, and the Czech Republic, at 2 wins, 1 overtime win and a pair of losses for 8 points. The Czechs needing a shootout to down Denmark is the reason they currently find themselves on the outside of the playoffs.

The relegation struggle is down to Denmark and Belarus with 3 points each from 5 games played, while winless Slovenia needs a miracle of epic proportions, as they have one game remaining against Canada and require a regulation win to pass Denmark and Belarus, who both have wins over Slovenia in the event of a tie.

There are four games scheduled for today and Monday, and a full slate of six on Tuesday to lock up the teams which will advance to the Playoff Round, as well as determine which two last place finishers will be relegated and replaced by Kazakhstan and Italy for 2014.

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