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2023 WJC Day 4 Recap: nothin’ but violent course correction by traditional powers

It’s all fun and games until the big boys need to throw their weight around.

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Game 1: Finland spends most of the game under siege, talent overcomes in 3-0 victory over Latvia

I’m just gonna be straight with you, it should be extremely concerning to any Finland fan that Finland got outshot by Latvia at all

Game Notes:

  • So yeah, Latvia played one hell of a game, but couldn’t find that scoring touch that’s otherwise gotten them closer to winning than most would like them to be. They had an unreal game from Dans Locmelis again...but he’s not like a Connor Bedard type. He can’t singlehandedly drag this team to relevance. Only building on these positives like giving their all every shift and playing with pride will do that, and hoping a wunderkind finally emerges. If they even had a second player like Locmelis, we’d be talking about them as a Cinderella candidate. So it goes.
  • Finland meanwhile has been playing mercurially all tourney, but has taken control of Group B. By New Year’s Eve, their biggest test in the States will come. I can only imagine that they’re looking at this final tune up game’s film with plenty of suggestions.
  • Bruins in this game: Dans Locmelis, like all of Latvia, was held off the scoresheet. He finished the night with 17:02 played.

Game 2: Sweden and Czechia have another classic, Sweden squeaks away with OT winner in 3-2 game.

The Czechs will be back for your hide, Sweden. You can’t hide forever.

Game Notes:

  • Some Classic 2010’s Czechia occurred as some lack of attention to detail had the team sort of scrambling to overcome two lightning quick goals from the blue-clad Tre Kronor, but man when they roared back they roared back hard in a game they controlled from bell to bell to bell. It’s just heartbreaking that they couldn’t sink the dagger into Sweden, because they did pretty much everything you need to do to win. Czechia will finish group stage against Germany on Saturday, so I imagine they’ll be looking to that as a good warmup for whomever they draw in KOs
  • Boy the Swedes just did not look like a competent team tonight. They could’ve been wearing Norway’s sweater and I would’ve believed the effort. Our Scandinavian friends should be very wary of that final game. I get the feeling we’re gonna watch a team get badly exposed for New Year’s Eve.
  • Hilariously, Sweden winning this game might put Czechia in a position to succeed here and come out the 1st seed anyway? Group A is a mess thanks to Czechia pretty much running away with it up until this last stumble, but with Canada looking to get that last big win against Sweden before KOs and Czechia’s final game being a fairly “easy” opponent...they could still just barely stay ahead. That would be something else. Still need to win that Germany game, though.
  • Bruins in this Game: There’s been some illness going around the World Juniors and unfortunately Fabian Lysell was in fact one of the recipients of it; leaving the game early after only 4:18. We can only hope he recovers fully before the end of the tourney.

Game 3: Switzerland can’t summon the scoring as USA cruises to ultimately fairly easy 5-1 win

Well, the States seems to have found it’s form.

Game Notes:

  • This, unfortunately, was a classic Switzerland game: play the game very intelligently for most of regulation...but have no answer for sheer, raw firepower. They got a cold glass of harsh reality dumped on them by their foes, and will have to get-right against a Slovakia squad very eager to prove themselves worthy.
  • Meanwhile, the US didn’t have to do any heroics this time around, they just pounded the Swiss with overwhelming speed and skill and mostly held that as their cudgel. It’ll be very interesting to see how they matchup against Finland, since both have had their struggles and both are slowly coming around into becoming who they should be.

Game 4: Canada does hateful things to Austria and wins 11-0

You really shouldn’t watch the highlights of this, it’ll just be sad.

Game Notes:

  • Bedard is rapidly approaching the Canadian record set by Eric Lindros in points acquired by a forward at the tournament; he’s currently at 22, which has him ranked seventh, but he’s been getting so much scoring in big heaping bunches he could seriously contend for it, or at bare minimum size up Brayden Schenn and Jordan Eberle’s 2nd place 26 points.
  • Austria’s first goal may only ever come in the relegation game, and even then, it looks like that will take an act of god to allow to happen. They just look completely outmatched at this level.

Games Today

Game 1: Latvia vs. Slovakia, 11am

Should I watch it?: Honestly, I think this is where Latvia’s tournament hits a sour note. Slovakia is a much more talented team than they have been in years past and I just don’t see a way that they come out on top. Catch the highlights.

Game 2: Germany vs. Austria, 4:30pm

Should I watch it?: If you want to see the limbo Germany is in (talented enough to stay, not talented enough to contend), then sure I guess. Go ahead and watch Germany beat up on their half-dead neighbor, you sadistic freak.