It's the final day of preliminary round play, with a lot on the line. All of the teams have something to play for. Here's a rundown:
Winner moves on. Simple as that. And with France beating Belarus yesterday, losing looks a lot less appealing. A lot is riding on this game, and it should be incredibly competitive. Denmark is coming off a tough loss to the Czechs, while Latvia pushed Finland into a shootout. If Latvia advances, they'll at least carry forward that single point earned. If Denmark moves on, they'll have to try and earn points against the teams from Group A that they'll be facing.
Another battle for 3rd, this time between one country that is getting used to the elite division in Norway, and Austria who gained promotion just for this season. Both teams are missing their nation's top players for a variety of reasons, so they'll be relying on their depth to restore their nation's pride. Norway has played better so far, earning a shootout win against Sweden but then blew a 2-0 third period lead against the Americans to lose 4-2.
The Czechs played like the defending champions when they blitzed an inexperienced Danish team, while Finland had to tough it out against Latvia in a shootout. The game is for first in the group, but it's really another game in which the teams will try and earn points towards a quarterfinal berth. Both expect to be there, and this is their first big test.
Sweden got a good scare when Norway beat them in a shootout, but they recovered quickly with a solid shutout win over Austria. The Americans also got a brief scare against Norway, but it was more a matter of time in that game, as they dominated the play before finally breaking through with four goals in the third period. The Americans carry a perfect record into this game, and a win here would definitely be a boost to their young team, which is starting to look like a potential medallist. Sweden could win the group with a regulation win, or finish third with a regulation loss and Norway winning their game.
Yesterday's scores gave us these results for Group A and B, with their carryover points:
Group A: 1. Germany (6), 2. Russia (3), 3. Slovakia (0), 4.
Group B: 1. Canada (5), 2. Switzerland (3), 3. France (1), 4.
Join us in the comments for discussion and updates from today's action.