World Juniors Day 4: Slovakia is for real, Finland finally wins, and more

Team Finland finally won a game at the 2023-24 World Juniors.

Day four of the World Juniors is officially done. After day three only had two games, day four was back to the big four-game slate.

Every game was good as teams are starting to figure out who they are in this tournament. The better teams are starting to separate themselves.

There is a lot of good hockey being played and NHL fans can be excited about some of the players making an impact.

Day four of the World Junior Championships was very entertaining.

Slovakia vs Norway

Although Norway isn't much of a threat in this tournament, the win that Slovakia had over them on Friday is very impressive. They dominated the game and came out with an 8-4 victory.

This win improves them to 3-0-0-0 which is good enough for first place in Group B. Czechia is their most impressive win but getting it done in all three games with little struggle is a good sign for them.

Slovakia's next matchup is the big showdown with Team USA on Sunday. This should be a very consequential game as the winner could be the Group B winner. They'd much rather have the easier path to the Gold Medal which comes naturally with a group win.

Finland vs Latvia

It has been a very weird tournament for Team Finland. They couldn't score enough goals despite making some pretty awesome plays. As a result, they had a 0-0-0-2 start.

They might not be the power that they usually are but they still have the pedigree to earn respect. They did that with their 4-0 win over Latvia. They are finally on the board which should have them make it beyond the round robin play.

Finland will have their big rivalry match with Sweden on Sunday. That is a big one as Sweden is one of the best teams in the tournament. If the Fins could somehow win this one, they'd consider themselves back after a tough start.

As for Latvia, they always deserve respect. They play hard and always end up back in the tournament. At 0-0-0-3 right now, they are in trouble but their last game of the round-robin is coming on Saturday against Germany. It will be tough for them but they have a chance.

USA vs Czechia

Team USA smoked Team Swiss 11-3 on Thursday but they knew that Czechia would be more of a challenge on Friday. They were.

Czechia lost their opener to their rival Slovakia but have bounced back nicely (which makes the win even more impressive for Slovakia).

This was the first game of the entire tournament that went to overtime. The 3-3 tie was not broken in overtime, however, as it was taken to a shootout. This is despite the U.S. having a power play in overtime.

Both teams played a very impressive (hard-fought) game but Team USA took it in the shootout. The shootout needed extra frames before Isaac Howard (Tampa Bay Lightning) of Michigan State won it. It was a great ending to a great game.

Czechia, the reigning Silver Medal winners from 2022-23, will finish the round-robin against the Swiss on Sunday. As for Team USA, they have that aforementioned Group B showdown with Slovakia.

Canada vs Sweden

Both Sweden and Canada came into this tournament thinking they could win it all. Neither of them has a world-beating roster but they are both upper-tier rosters.

It always felt like the showdown between these two would decide the winner of Group A in the end. Well, it was a great game between two incredible hockey countries.

Canada is always one of the favorites no matter what. They still produce the most hockey talent of any country in the world. However, this game did not go their way as Sweden took it 2-0.

It was a very impressive win for the Swedes. They had this very good Team Canada squad all out of sorts in this one. Not allowing Canada to score a single goal is very noteworthy.

Sweden hasn't allowed a goal to anyone in this tournament. They are outscoring their opponents 13-0 through three games. They should believe that they can win the Gold Medal.

Canada has been given their wake-up call. They need to be better if they want to pick up the pieces and win this tournament.

Their next game will be on Sunday against Germany. As for Sweden, they have their biggest rival in Team Finland to close out round-robin play.

Regardless of what happened in this game, both teams need to be focused going forward. Neither team won or lost the Gold Medal here. Team USA, Slovakia, Finland, and Czechia are waiting for them to bring their best in the elimination rounds.

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