Canada going for fifth gold in a row
Eurohockey.net gives you a short preview of the 2009 IIHF World U20 Championship
The first face off of the 2009 IIHF World U20 Championshipship takes place tomorrow on Boxing day. This year's venue is Canada's capital Ottawa. Canada have won four straight gold medals at the World Juniors and at home in front of sold out arenas they are favourites to win a fifth consecutive title. Canada plays in group A together with Czech Republic, USA, Germany and Kazakhstan. The North American derby against USA will probably be toughest prelimanary game for Team Canada. The Czechs should take the third and last playoff spot in this group while Kazakhstan and Germany probably will have to focus on try to avoid relegation. Kazakhstan however showed that they have the potential to be a surprise by beating Finland 2-1 in an exhibition game.
In Group B Sweden, Finland, Russia, Latvia and Slovakia is playing. Sweden won silver last year and are going for gold this year after being very close to beat Canada in last year's final. Russia will also be a contender for the title. Finland should also be top 3 in this group but the results of the pretournament games haven't been impressive for the Finns and maybe Slovakia could challenge them. Latvia will probably have a hard tournament and it would be a surprise if they can avoid last place in this group.
The tournament format is that the first placed team in each group qualifies directly to the semi final while the second and third placed teams will play the quarter finals. The fourth and fifth teams will play in relegation round where the top two teams will reamain in the elite group for the 2010 tournament and the bottom two teams will be relegated to division 1 to be replaced by Austria and Switzerland who already qualified for the 2010 World Juniors.
Czech Rep-Slovakia 5-2
Czech Rep-Sweden 1-5
Story added on 25th December 2008 at 10:17 GMT
Story submitted by: Fredrik Pålsson.