2019 World Junior Hockey Championship: Predictions

With the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship starting today at 4:00pm EST, I’ve decided to build my predictions for how the tournament will shape up. From group play and all the way through to the medal rounds, I’ll give me thoughts on some matchups and have a bracket ready to go. Keep in mind that if I’m wrong at all, the bracket will not look the same.

Group A (w-otw-otl-l)

1 - Canada 4-0-0-0

2 - Russia 3-0-0-1

3 - Czech Rep. 2-0-0-2

4 - Denmark 0-1-0-3

R - Switzerland 0-0-1-3

I’ve got Canada as the team to beat coming in to the tournament as they look to win again on home soil with one of the best defensive crops they have had in years, not to mention one of the top goaltending prospects in the tournament. Russia can always be a threat to take over the top spot. I’m expecting the New Years Eve game between Canada and Russia to determine the top spot in Group A. Denmark has shown that they can win games as their junior hockey program has improved year after year.

Group B

1 - United States 3-1-0-0

2 - Sweden 3-0-1-0

3 - Finland 2-0-0-2

4 - Slovakia 1-0-0-3

R - Kazakstan 0-0-0-4

Sweden and the USA will hit the ice against eachother on Saturday, Dec 29, in a game that will surely determine the top spot in Group B. Since 2008 and despite only having won a single Golf Medal, Team Sweden has never lost a Group play game (44-0), but I see that coming to an end this year against the United States in Overtime. Watch out for Team Finland as a dark horse in this tournament to potentially upset either the Americans or Swedes. Even though Finland is missing a LOT of their top players, the Finnish Junior Hockey program continues to flourish and with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen between the pipes, anything is possible. And with no surprise to anyone – Kazakstan will be the only team in the tournament to finish without a point and end up being relegated.

Quarter Final                     Semi Final                           BRONZE               GOLD                    Champ

B1 USA 4                              USA 3                                    RUS 3                    CAN 4 (OT)          Team Canada

A4 DEN 1                              RUS 1                                     SWE 2                    USA 3

A2 RUS 4

B3 FIN 3

A1 CAN 5                              CAN 4

B4 SVK 1                               SWE 3

B2 SWE 3                             

A3 CZE 2

 

I’m expecting an exciting tournament this year as we usually get. Here’s to a great tournament and some great hockey!