Host nation Canada go up against Finland at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon, at the quarter-final stage of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2018-19.
With four of five teams from each of the two groups qualifying for the last eight in the tournament, there was never any doubt that both of these teams would feature in the playoffs. However, both would have hoped for an easier draw at this stage, with the prospect of them facing each other in the quarter-finals being down to both teams losing their final group games.
Canada looked set to finish top in Group A, only to lose their final group game against what was on the day a superior Russian team on New Year’s Eve. Despite taking an early lead through Cody Glass, the Canadians went on to lose 2-1. As a consequence, Russia topped the group, with Canada finishing as runners-up.
Finland’s task was always more difficult, having been drawn in the tougher Group B and them losing their opening group game 2-1 to Sweden. The 4-1 loss to the USA in their final group game at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on New Year’s Eve confirmed that they would finish third behind Sweden and the USA in Group B, with the result being a quarter-final against the Group A runners-up – Canada – in the last eight.
In their favour, Finland did comfortably beat Canada 5-2 just before Christmas in a preparation game for these finals.
However, this will be a competitive game and the Canadians will surely have learned some lessons from the loss to the Russians. With Finland having already lost twice to decent teams in these finals, most tipsters predictions will expect Canada to secure a semi-final place against either Sweden or Switzerland.
The pressure will be on them, but Canada have to be the tips for the win on the Money Line odds of -240 at 888sport.
Pick: Money Line – Canada @ -240 (888sport)