Tracking the 2018 World Juniors: Pools and Bracket
Who takes the gold in snowy Buffalo?
Hockey fans know that as we weave through the holidays late in the year, they’ll soon be treated to the 2018 World Juniors.
Kicking off on December 26, just one day after Christmas, ten teams vie for the world championship. The United States is the host country, and they will look to defend their title in Buffalo. America’s U-20 team won it all in 2017. In fact, they also won in 2010, then hosted the following season in Buffalo. Should history repeat itself, then Russia will win in 2018. Unlike 2011, however, there will be an outdoor game for the first time: the United States and Canada play at the erstwhile Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 29.
Before the playoff round, there’s Pool Play (or Group Play, though does it matter?) Four out of five advance, while the unlucky fifth-place team enters the relegation gauntlet. The United States and Canada are in the same Group (A), and if they finish first and second (in either order), they can meet in the final — again.
2018 World Juniors: Playoff Round and Medals
Team Canada scored a 3-1 win over Sweden on January 5 to seal the IIHF World Juniors gold medal. To get there, Canada defeated Switzerland, the Czech Republic (Czechia), and the Swedish team in the gold medal game.
The United States won the bronze medal with a 9-3 win over Czechia earlier in the day, medaling for the third-straight year.
Hockey is a religion in Canada, and there’s no mistaking why they’ve won the World Juniors a leading 17 times. Also notably, this was the first time since 2010 that Russia finished out of the medals. Sweden got to the podium for the first time since 2014.
2018 World Juniors: Group Standings Update, December 29
Red alert for Denmark and Belarus, who appear well on their way to the relegation round. Meanwhile, Canada, the United States, Sweden, and Russia are on track for the playoffs. On Friday, December 29, the United States raced back to beat Canada in Orchard Park.
2018 World Juniors: Pools/Groups
In Group A, it’s the United States, Canada, Finland, Denmark, and Slovakia. En route to their 2017 championship, Team USA won their group with a 4-0-0-0 record or 12 points (and by the way, that’s wins-OT wins-OT losses-losses). Canada finished second, while Slovakia was a weak fourth-place contender with three points. Finland and Denmark were in last year’s other pool; Denmark came in second there while Finland fought off relegation.
As for Group B, you have Russia, Czechia (otherwise known as the Czech Republic), Belarus, Sweden, and Switzerland. Sweden crushed its group last year with 12 points, though they finished in fourth place in the playoff round. Russia won bronze and will be a contender every year. Neither half of the former Czechoslovakia got out of the quarterfinal round in 2017, and 2018 will be similarly uphill.