On Day 11 of the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, the quarterfinal matchups started to take shape. Here's what you need to know:
Sweden defeated France, 4-2, with the help of Filip Forsberg, who scored the game-tying and the game-winning goals. He now leads the tournament with eight goals in seven games. With the win, Sweden locks in the second seed in Group A and will travel to Ostrava for their quarterfinal game against the loser of the Finland-Russia game Tuesday night.
France now needs to earn at least a point against Latvia tomorrow to avoid relegation.
Just like the organizing committee had the opportunity to flip one set of teams in the preliminary round for the benefit of improved ticket sales – switching Switzerland and Slovakia so the latter could play their games in Ostrava, just 30 minutes from the Slovakian border – the organizing committee has the opportunity to do the same in the medal round.
Even though the Czech Republic is the third seed in Group A, they will play the second seed in Group B in Prague at the 17,000-seat O2 Arena instead of traveling to Ostrava and playing at CEZ Arena, which seats 8,800.
Austria avoided relegation with a 3-2 shootout win over Germany.
Finland defeated Belarus 3-2 in a shootout and can finish anywhere from first to third in Group B depending on the result of Tuesday night’s game against Russia and that of USA-Slovakia on Tuesday afternoon.
Slovenia defeated Denmark 1-0 for their first and only win of the tournament.
Team USA had the day off today, but not after a little video review this morning. There’s still some good-natured chatter going on about Jack Eichel's first goal of the tournament. Consensus is he owes Brock Nelson a nice steak dinner for "stealing" his hat trick goal.
With one goal and three assists in six games, Eichel has gotten more comfortable and subsequently better with each game in his first foray into men's competition, but he knows there's a lot more work ahead of him.
“I think I need to shoot the puck more. I think that sometimes I try to fine tune things when I could just be more simple,” Eichel said. “The coaches have been on me about that. Just making sure I'm shooting the puck more and that I'm moving my feet throughout the whole shift, not standing still and getting straight-legged.”
U.S. coach Todd Richards has liked what he’s seen.
"Offensively, his line has been clicking. We'd like to see him shoot a little bit more. I think there's a lot of unselfishness in his game,” Richards said. “He's always looking to distribute and that's great quality and strength of his, but he also possesses a good shot and we'd like to see him use it a bit more.
“Does this break the ice for him? I don't know, but he's an important piece to this team in terms of generating offense and scoring goals. So hopefully this will lead to other things for him.”
Group A quarterfinal seedings are set no matter what happens on Tuesday:
1 - Canada
2 - Sweden
3 - Czech Republic
4 - Switzerland
Group B is a little cloudier. The U.S. holds the top spot by a point and will need a win against Slovakia tomorrow to secure it. Team USA can finish no worse than second. Slovakia is still trying to sneak into the quarterfinals and can do it if Norway defeats Belarus tomorrow and they defeat the U.S. in regulation.
Russia and Finland are tied for second in the group and play tomorrow to break the tie. Either team can finish anywhere from first (with a U.S. loss) to third in the group. If the game is won in overtime or a shootout and there is a tie in points, Team USA wins all tiebreakers because they defeated both Russia and Finland.
Coming off back-to-back games over the weekend, Tyler Ennis and Canada had the day off, as did Team USA. They both play their final preliminary round game Tuesday afternoon. Canada, who already locked up the top seed in Group A defeated Austria 10-1 early on Tuesday, while USA plays for first place in Group B against Slovakia at 10:15 a.m. ET.
Belarus defeated Norway 3-2 in the early Tuesday game to secure a spot in the semifinal. Latvia plays France at 10:15 a.m. ET with relegation implications mentioned above. The Czech Republic plays Switzerland at 2:15 p.m. ET as does Finland and Russia with a top-two spot in Group B on the line for both teams.