IIHF World Championships 2012 – Quarter Finals – Thursday 17th May
Canada vs. Slovakia – 12pm
Canada will take to the ice against Slovakia as heavy favorites to progress to the semi finals. Canada finished top of their pool after winning six out of their seven round robin games. Their only defeat was at the hands of USA coming in overtime (4-3). The Canadians will look to their big game players of John Tavares and Jordan Eberle to see off the Slovakian threat.
But Slovakia will come into this match up brimming with confidence after five consecutive wins, which included a surprise victory over USA. Branko Radivojevic will be looking to add to his goal tally, the Slovak has four goals and three assists, the most recent goal against France was “the goal of his life”.
The Slovakian goaltender, Jan Laco, is also having a fine tournament and will need to be on top of his game if the Slovaks want to avoid catching the next flight home.
History suggests that the Canadians will have little trouble in progressing, as they boast six consecutive victories over the Slovaks.
Czech Republic vs. Sweden – 8:15pm
The Czechs will face off against hosts Sweden in this evenings quarter final match up. The Swedes will be looking for revenge, as the Czechs usurped them during the Euro Hockey Tour. The absence of the evergreen Jaromir Jagr has seen the Czech Republic look to other sources for leadership on the ice, with limited success.
They have also fallen short when coming up against the top teams so far, defeats against Sweden and Russia has raised question marks about the Czechs ability to be considered real contenders.
Sweden’s home advantage and the comprehensive 4-1 victory over the Czechs earlier in the competition makes them clear favorites to progress. Sweden also boost some elite forwards in the shape of Franzen and Zetterberg, with this in mind, it looks an uphill task for the Czechs to progress.