January 03 2017 12:31PM
Day 7 was a very exciting day for Leafs prospects, as Jeremy Bracco, Carl Grundstrom and Martins Dzierkals took to the ice in crucial games for their teams. Sweden and the USA were victorious in their quarterfinal matchups, and both Jeremy Bracco and Carl Grundstrom tallied points in their respective games. Martins Dzierkals and the Latvians did not have a fantastic day yesterday, losing by a score of 2-1 to Finland in the first game of the relegation round.
FIN VS. LAT
The relegation round isn't being broadcasted in North America, and unfortunately, I couldn't find any highlights from yesterday's game. Here is the official game story from the IIHF, if that's any consolation.
Martins Dzierkals didn't record a point yesterday against Finland. He was first amongst Latvian forwards in ice time once again, playing 18:44 through 3 periods. Finland dominated against Latvia, despite the close score - they outshot the Latvians by a total of 45-24.
Dzierkals will need to come up big for Latvia today if his team has any chance of pulling out a victory. They are down by a single game to Finland, and one more loss will signify the Latvians' demotion to Division A of the WJHC for 2018, only one year after being promoted.
Here's what Dzierkals had to say about yesterday's loss:
Dzierkals on the close loss today: "We have nowhere else to go now, so tomorrow we will do everything we can not to get relegated."— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) January 2, 2017
SWE VS. SVK
Here are the highlights from yesterday's quarterfinal matchup:
Carl Grundstrom had another great game for Sweden yesterday, and it looks as though all injury troubles are in the past. Grundstrom was credited with one goal in Sweden's 8-3 victory against the Slovaks, though he played an instrumental part in setting up their 7th goal of the game. Here's a gif of Grundstrom forcing the puck in the net, without actually touching it:
That is some fantastic net-front pressure by Grundstrom, who puts himself in an ideal position to force a goal. Grundstrom also showed off his amazing shot late in the first, wiring the puck past the Slovakian goaltender.
Sweden will advance to the semifinals on Wednesday, taking on the Canadians what is sure to be an exciting matchup.
USA VS. SUI
As always, here are the highlights from the game:
Despite a fantastic game against the Canadians, Joseph Woll took to the bench in USA's quarterfinal matchup against the Swiss. The Americans were far from dominant in this game, as Switzerland came surprisingly close to a victory on several occasions throughout.
Jeremy Bracco played an instrumental role in the USA's victory over the Swiss. Tallying a goal and an assist, Bracco received well-deserved recognition by his team, and was named Player of the Game by the Americans. Here is his first goal:
Bracco puts the finishing touches on a great play by the Americans. What has impressed me the most about Bracco over the course of the tournament is his on-ice vision and sense. His positioning is impeccable, and both his shooting and passing accuracy is bordering on elite. Here's Bracco's assist from yesterday:
Bracco carries the puck through the zone, dancing around 2 Swiss players and making a nice pass to Jordan Greenway in front of the net.
With yesterday's victory, the USA advances to the semi-finals where they will be taking on Russia in a preliminary-round rematch.
DAY 8 PREVIEW
There will only be one game today, as Finland and Latvia will face off in the second game of the relegation round. If Finland wins today, Latvia will be relegated to Division A, only one year after being promoted to the tournament's top division. The game will begin at 5:30 EST in Montreal. As I mentioned above, the game isn't being broadcasted in North America. There are several YouTube channels set to live broadcast the matchup at 5:30, and that is likely the best option if you're looking to catch the game.