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2023 WJC Quarterfinals RECAP: Holy S#!t Connor Bedard is good

An extremely amazing night for the sport, all things considered.

Relegation Round: Austria’s on the brink as Latvia rings up a 5-2 Victory.

Thanks for coming, Austria. Please let Norway know where the bathroom and the coat closet is on your way out.

Game Notes:

  • Latvia finally got to show off a little of what their game looks like when they’re not completely overmatched talentwise, and man what a fun little hockey team they are. I don’t see them accidentally dropping their next game, so they might as well make it quick on Austria and not belabor this any more than they have to.
  • Did you know Austria actually scored the first goal of this game? I know, I was shocked by this information too.
  • Bruins in this Game: Dans Locmelis got the Latvians off the ground with a goal in the first period, and played 21:41 in a strong game for him.

Quarterfinal Game 1: Sweden once again escapes the reaper’s blade by beating Finland 3-2

Every so often Finland has this happen to them and every time they react in a very dangerous way the year after.

  • Playing your rival often means playing down to their level, and boy did both teams play down to each other in the best way. it was tight for a very long time and the Swedes spent most of it getting shelled, but they once again performed feats of incredible individual skill and somehow survived. Again.
  • Finland is going to be steaming mad next tourney.
  • Bruins in this Game: Fabian Lysell’s tournament of doing cool and interesting stuff but never getting rewarded for it continues. He did play 18:36 TOI however, which is an improvement over his first game back from illness.

Quarterfinal Game 2: Czechia’s for real. Absolutely grills Switzerland in 9-1 beatdown

Sweden’s done just enough to get pretty far. I don’t think they can beat this.

Game Notes:

  • I’ve watched a lot of Czechia hockey over the past ten or so years (good god.) and this team may be the most complete one they’ve ever sent to this tournament in that time. They’ve met every challenge with scoring aplomb and blistering pace, and any team they couldn’t beat by overwhelming them with offense they’ve buckled down and shattered with defense. Just a world class squad they’ve sent this year and I expect to see them go all the way.
  • Poor Switzerland. I hope you guys find some really good player in the alps somewhere and go all the way. Die Eisgenossen do pretty much everything right every year and just can’t get the deal done. Thankfully, they get to go back to the Swiss league and the balmy 50 degree weather they’re experiencing right now.

Quarterfinal Game 3: USA victimizes Germany in 11-1 beatdown least you got a good scrimmage out of this.

Game Note:

  • Not really much to this one. The US just showed up and punched Germany’s ticket out of here as emphatically as you can do it without stapling it to their head and chucking them on the plane. The States may not be the best team in the tournament but jesus christ they can absolutely mollywop you if you catch them in the wrong mood. Canada’s unreal this tournament thanks to Bedard, but they’re gonna have their hands full.

Quarterfinal Game 4: Canada lets Connor Bedard cook as he scores one of the best overtime winners of the decade. Canada advances on 4-3 OT victory.

If you have to watch any one highlight, please watch Bedard’s game winner. This kid is going to be a menace.

Game Notes:

  • Connor Bedard now stands at 4th overall in Tournament history in points and stands alone in Canadian World Junior History as the most productive player the team has ever seen. He undressed a Slovakia team that has gotten as close as humanly possible and made it look easy. Nevermind the score, nevermind the other players. Bedard is going to turn heads next year. I sincerely hope he does not come to the Eastern Conference.
  • But man...Slovakia really is back on it’s horse, man. They play an unbelievably fun game and their young guns are something to behold. Absolutely a far cry from the rebuilding they had to do in order to get here. Miro Satan has finally gotten this group back to a good place, and we should be thankful for it. Better luck next time, Slovaks.

2023 World Junior Semifinals PREVIEW for Wednesday

Relegation Game 2: Latvia vs. Austria, 11am

Byyyyye Austriaaaaaaa

Semifinal Game 1: Czechia vs. Sweden, 2:30pm

Alright Sweden has played some real hero hockey over the past few days but I genuinely think this is where it stops. Czechia is not the Czechia of old where they get herky jerky in their own end. They are going to make Tre Kronor work like dogs to even get tied with them.

I don’t think Sweden wants that. Or can even really do that.

It’ll be fun, if nothing else.

Semifinal Game 2: USA vs. Canada, 6:30pm