The fourth and final quarter-final of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2018-19 takes place at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Wednesday evening as the USA take on the Czech Republic.
It could have been a potentially much more difficult task for the USA at this stage, but they managed to overcome Finland 4-1 in their last Group B game to ensure that they finished as runners-up behind Sweden in their group and therefore avoided a real heavyweight clash against host nation Canada.
The Swedes were the only team to beat the USA in the group stage, with a thrilling 5-4 OT win ultimately ensuring that they would top the group.
The Czechs group game results were largely predictable, with wins against Switzerland and Denmark and losses to Russia and Canada. However, the OT win against the Swiss was perhaps a little lucky, while their 2-1 loss to Group A winners Russia was slightly unlucky.
These two teams reached the semi-finals of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships a year ago and then played each other in the largely meaningless third place playoff. The USA won that game 9-3, but they had something to play for in that they were the host nation and the game was on home-ice before their own supporters at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. This game should be more competitive and far closer as a consequence.
The majority of the expert’s predictions for this game will anticipate a USA win and, given the teams’ respective results in these finals to date, that should be the result. The Czechs could only score eight goals in total in their four group games, while the USA can call upon five-goal Ryan Poehling, the current co-leading goalscorer in the tournament.
The USA is the tips here and they should win on the Money Line odds of -250 with 888sport.
Pick: Money Line – USA @ -250 (888sport)