It was quarterfinal day at the 2021 IIHF World Hockey Championship. Switzerland faced Germany, the United States faced Slovakia, Canada faced off with Russia and Finland battled the Czech Republic.
We begin with the Swiss and Germans, as Germany took this one 3-2 in a shootout. This game was played at the Olympic Sports Centre.
Nico Hischier had one shot in 21:42 of ice time on his way to being named the Player of the Game for the Swiss and one of the three Swiss Players of the Tournament. Jonas Siegenthaler had two shots on goal in 19:50 of total ice.
The Swiss got on the board in the first period when Ramon Untersander scored from Santeri Alatalo and Philipp Kurashev 15:17 into the game.
That lead took the Swiss into the second period and the Germans seemed to lose their cool just about seven minutes into the new frame.
At 7:04, Mathias Plachta took a boarding penalty and a ten-minute misconduct. Twenty-two seconds later, Tom Kuhnhackl was called for a trip, putting the Swiss up 5-on-3. The Germans would survive this.
However, at 13:26, Fabrice Herzog doubled the Swiss lead at even strength when he scored from Tristan Scherwey and Christoph Bertschy.
That two-goal lead would last for about four minutes. At 17:23, Kuhnhackl scored for Germany to cut the Swiss lead in half. Tobias Rieder and Marco Nowak had the assists.
And that would take us into the third. A clean period which saw no penalties or events until, 18:35, the Germans pulled goalie Mathias Niederberger.
It would take less than a minute for Germany to tie things up when Leon Gawanke scored at 19:16 from Dominik Kahun and Marcel Noebels to tie the game at two and eventually send it into overtime. Noebels would have more heroics on his stick later on.
When OT could not settle things, we were on to a shootout.
Enzo Corvi went first for the Swiss, being stopped by Niederberger. Patchta finished out round one for the Germans by shooting wide of net.
Round two saw Sven Andrighetto go for Switzerland and be stopped by Niederberger. Nicolas Krammer shot for the Germans and went high over the crossbar.
In round three, Timo Meier scored for the Swiss and Kahun potted one for the Germans to tie us up again.
Round four saw Andres Ambuhl (Switzerland) stopped by Niederberger and Lukas Reichel (Germany) stopped by Leonardo Genoni.
Round five would end up settling things when Gregory Hofmann was stopped by Niederberger, putting the game and Germany’s chances on the stick of Noebels. Noebels replicated Peter Forsberg’s shootout goal against Canada in the 1994 Olympics, the goal that sealed the gold medal for Sweden.
Skating in, he moved to his forehand and reached around goaltender Niederberger, almost placing the puck behind the netminder and into the net. This game was played at Arena Riga.
Germany had the 3-2 win in a shootout and was moving on to the semifinals.
Joining them in the semis was the USA. The Americans defeated the Slovaks 6-1 to continue their winning streak – they have now won eight straight.
Matt Tennyson played 21:29 while Matt Hellickson had a shot on netin 16:56 of total ice.
The Slovaks got a little undisciplined early, with Robert Lantosi getting called for tripping 2:43 into the game and Mario Grman going off for a hook 14 seconds later. This put the US on a 5-on-3, but Slovakia was able to kill those off.
But the US struck quickly. At 13:08 of the first, Brian Boyle scored unassisted to make it 1-0. At 15:25, Colin Blackwell scored from Kevin Labanc and Eric Robinson to make it 2-0. At 19:30 it was Conor Garland from Trevor Moore and Zac Jones to make it 3-0.
The Americans went into the second period spotted a 3-0 lead. And, as it turned out, they only needed the first two.
Peter Cehlarik scored for Slovakia 12:12 into the second to make it 3-1. He got a helper from Lantosi.
From there, the US went back to work. Blackwell scored his second from Robinson and Labanc at 16:50 of the second to make it 4-1.
In the third, Sasha Chmelevski scored at 5:15 to make it 5-1. Christian Wolanin had the lone assist on his goal.
At 16:29. Slovakia’s Adam Janosik and the USA’s Trevor Moore took matching roughing minors, making it 4-on-4. Just seconds after it got back to 5-on-5, Garland scored his second from Wolanin and Trevor Moore to give us our final of 6-1.
The USA now moves on to the semifinals as they look to win World Championship gold for the first time since 1933.
Although, as pointed out on the TSN broadcast by host Rod Black, the US actually last won gold in 1960. Back then, in Olympic years, the World Championship tournament was the Olympics. Since the US team won gold at that Olympics, they were actually considered the world champions. The last time they won this tournament proper, however, was 1933.
Canada defeated Russia 2-1 in overtime and Finland narrowly got by the Czech Republic 1-0.
So, Germany, the United States, Canada and Finland now advance to the semifinals to be played on Saturday, June 5. The teams will be reseeded, but I am guessing by record that the USA will play Germany and Canada will get Finland.
We will see if things work out that way and see you for the 2021 IIHF World Championship semifinals on Saturday.