There were no surprises at the ice rinks in Finland. At the end of the group stage of the Ice Hockey World Championships, the teams of the USA and Slovakia won the promotion. Eight of the most renowned teams advanced to Thursday’s quarter-finals. Only one team – Switzerland – finished the group games undefeated.
Until the last round, the fate of the current Olympic bronze medalists, the Slovaks, was in danger. They were ranked fifth in Group B, 3 points behind Denmark. Only a win in regular time in a direct clash with the Danes gave them promotion. However, it worked with flying colors: Slovakia won 7:1.
The leader of the ongoing struggle in Helsinki group A, Switzerland, kept a clean sheet until the end, winning the seventh match in a row. This time, however, the Helvetians did not settle the score within 60 minutes. After three periods, they drew with Central Europe 3:3. Extra time did not give the result, but in the penalty shootout they were better 2-0. In the end, they won 4:3 with 2 points (total 20 in seven games).
In Group B, which was played in Tampere, a safe 4-2 win over Norway sent the USA team through to the quarter-finals. The best in the group was Finland, the host of the tournament, with 19 points, ahead of Sweden – 18.
In the quarter-finals will play (Thursday, May 26): Switzerland – USA, Sweden – Canada, Finland – Slovakia and Central Europe – Czech Republic.
The last teams from each group, i.e. Italy and Great Britain, fell to the lower class, i.e. Division 1A. Next year they will be Poland’s rivals in this category of the World Championships.
Russia and Belarus are excluded from the 2022 World Cup.