World Junior Championship 2021: Four Storylines to watch for ahead of Quarter-Final matchups

Russia celebrates the victory over Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Russia celebrates the victory over Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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Team Russia
Russia celebrates the victory over Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

We’ve got you covered ahead of the 2021 World Junior Championship Quarter-Finals later today.

We’re heading into the final days of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Red Deer, Edmonton, with the meaty part of the competition taking place later today in the form of the Quarter-Finals.

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We have four hugely compelling matchups to look forward to in the World Junior Championship, including Team Canada taking on the Czech Republic and Team USA going up against Slovakia.

These are the four Quarter-Finals games in full:

  • Russia Vs. Germany (10:00 a.m. ET)
  • Finland Vs. Sweden (1:30 p.m. ET)
  • Team Canada Vs. Czech Republic (5:00 p.m. ET)
  • Team USA Vs. Slovakia (10:30 p.m. ET)

It should make for an entertaining day of hockey with plenty of talent on display, and it does feel like we will be getting a mouthwatering matchup between Team Canada and Team USA at some stage.

And, on that note, let’s delve into the four storylines, one for each game, you should be aware of before the first game of today between Russia and Germany gets underway.

Let’s get started…

4. Irresistible force against immovable object

Germany Vs. Russia (10 a.m ET)

Russia is a powerhouse in hockey and they have been nearly unstoppable at the 2021 World Juniors, winning three of four games and they can lay claim to having the best goaltender at the tournament in Yaroslav Askarov, who was taken with the No. 11 overall pick by the Nashville Predators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Askarov ranks sixth among all goaltenders at the 2021 WJC with a .921 Save Percentage and a 2.62 Goals Against Average, and he’ll have to be at his very best to stop a determined Germany team.

It was a rough start to the tournament for Germany who could only ice 14 skaters due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and they dropped their first two games including a tough 16-2 loss to Team Canada.

Tim Stutzle (8)
Tim Stutzle #8 of Germany (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

However, spearheaded by Captain and No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators in Tim Stuetzle, Buffalo Sabres prospect John Peterka and Mannheim forward Florian Elias, Germany won their next two games to progress to the Quarter-Finals for the first time.

And they will be a tough out for Russia.

Playing with a real confidence and a togetherness, Germany also boast an elite game-changer in Stuetzle, who ranks third among scoring leaders with 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in four games.

He’s supported by Peterka who is fourth with four goals and six assists for 10 points, and Elias who ranks No. 5 with 8 points (3 G, 5 A) in four games, with that dynamic top line combining for 28 points.

So, while Russia will be the overwhelming favorites, they won’t be able to take it easy against Germany who will be looking to make more history today.