Day two (Thursday 27 December) of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2018-19 sees host nation Canada playing their second game of the tournament against Switzerland at the Rogers Arena.
Canada would certainly have expected to start their World Championship U20 title defence with a win against the Danes on Boxing Day and they will expect nothing less against the Swiss a day later.
The Swiss also started their tournament on Boxing Day when they were up against the Czech Republic. The Swiss lost twice in friendly internationals to the Czechs in July of this year (3-1 and 6-3), so they will have their work cut out to take anything from their opening game.
The Canadians and the Swiss met in a preparation game for the finals on 19 December, in which Canada ran out 5-3 winners. The fact that the Swiss ran them close should ensure that the Canadians don’t take them lightly when the teams meet in more meaningful circumstances on Thursday.
The teams also met at the 2017-18 World Championship U20 finals in the USA at the quarter-final stage, with Canada running out comprehensive 8-2 winners.
It should also be noted that the Swiss only just edged out the Danes 5-4 when the teams met back in May, so it’s difficult to know how much credibility one should give to the recent friendly scoreline against Canada.
It’s difficult to believe that the Canucks were playing anywhere near their full capabilities in the friendly and, even though they will not unduly want to exert themselves here with tougher tests ahead, it has to be expected that they will win far more convincingly on this occasion.
The Money Line odds will be very short on Canada (around -2500 at best probably), so backing them on the Puck Line could be the best option.
Pick: Puck Line – Canada