The IIHF World Championships wrapped up this weekend in Stockholm with Sweden topping Switzerland 5-1 in the gold medal game while the United States played Finland to a draw before finally emerging victorious in a shootout. (Why they have shootouts deciding elimination games is anyone’s guess)
Sweden had an impressive run to the championship defeating Canada in a quarterfinal shootout 3-2 and then taking down Finland 3-0 in the Semis. (Again with the shootout thing, its bizarre) Strong goaltending carried Sweden to the championship as Buffalo’s Jhonas Enroth caught fire in the final three games. Enroth stopped 96 of 98 shots in the final three rounds, good for a ridiculous .979 save percentage. Enroth’s play cemented him as Sweden’s number one goalie which unfortunately meant Florida Panther Jacob Markstrom did not see a lick of ice time after the group stages.
Nick Bjugstad, of the United States, was the only other Florida Panther to be involved in the medal rounds. Unfortunately that involvement was limited as he only received 9:01 and 8:15 of playing time in the semi-final and bronze medals games respectively.
The IIHF World Championships have a relegation set up with the two teams finishing at the bottom of the group stages getting dropped to Division I while the two teams that finished at the top of Division I are promoted to the big stage, the World Championship. In this year’s tournament Austria and Slovenia finished last in the World Championships and are therefore relegated to Division I for the 2014 tournament. Surprisingly enough Kazakhstan and Italy were the top teams from Division I this year and will compete in the World Championship in 2014.
There are three divisions in total and it is interesting to see some of the countries that have teams competing. For example I would never have guessed that the likes of Mexico, Mongolia, China, and New Zealand field teams. That countries that are not traditionally hockey powers compete in these tournaments can only be a good thing for the growth of hockey.
Well thats it for this year’s IIHF World Championship, but not for The Rat Trick as we will be keeping up on the playoffs while continuing our extensive coverage of the Florida Panthers. Feel free to comment and as always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.