Gold-medal winners in 2015, but an eighth place finish in 2016; the ride for Canada's junior team has been a bumpy one, in the least. But can they prove themselves this year?
After winning against the Czechs in the quarterfinal, Canada looks to finish off Sweden in the semifinal today and advance to playing the winner of the USA-Russia semifinal in the gold-medal game. However, they have played against weak teams for the majority of the tournament. And the one good team they faced, USA, ended up winning 3-1 and going undefeated for the whole tournament.
Sweden is a team that is unproven past the first stage of the World Junior tournament. They usually go undefeated, only to lose early in the knockout stage. This time, it is Canada they are playing. Many people are nervous about this game on both sides, because neither team has faced much adversity and both teams are unproven in the World Juniors.
Once they get past Sweden, Canada faces either USA, whom they lost to 3-1, or Russia, both of which will be tough opponents. Historically, Canada and Russia are almost evenly matched when they face each other in the final; however, Canada does have a few games in hand. On the other hand, it has been rare when Canada and USA face each other in the finals, although it will be an exciting game for both Canadian and USA fans, as the teams are big rivals.
Who do you expect to win the semifinal? How about the gold medal? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.