The round-robin portion of the 2018 IIHF World Championship is in the books, and all four Colorado Avalanche representatives at the tournament are moving on to the quarterfinals. ]
Who will go home with a medal, perhaps even gold?
Mikko Rantanen helped his country grab the top seed in group B, as Finland went 5-0-1-1 (Win-OT Win-OT Loss-Loss) in the preliminary round. He was the team’s third leading scorer, with nine points - including four goals. As predicted earlier, Rantanen likes to do his damage in big games, as he scored a goal in Finland’s 6-2 victory over the United States and also converted on two goals in the 5-1 win over Canada. Serving as an alternate captain, Rantanen is playing a large role on the team - not just on the score sheet, but also as one of the leading forwards in ice time with nearly 18 minutes per game. Finland is in a good position to medal at the tournament as they take on Switzerland in the quarterfinal match. Rantanen might add to the silver medal he took home from the event in 2017.
Sven Andrighetto has been a big part of team Switzerland as well, playing over 17 minutes per contest. He is tied for the team lead in points with seven, and has contributed with two goals - all the more impressive given that Andrighetto missed the second game of the the tournament due to a kneeing match penalty he received against Austria. Unlike Finland, the Swiss barely qualified for the quarterfinals with a record of 3-1-1-2 - but a big 2-0 win over Slovakia made the difference. Switzerland is looking for their first medal at this event since 2013, when they won silver, and hope to defeat Finland in the quarterfinal.
Tyson Jost didn’t suit up for Canada’s first match in the tournament, but he has been a lineup mainstay since, earning more ice time as the games progressed. Jost has chipped in five points, including four goals to match Rantanen’s total. Canada’s road has been a bit rocky with a 4-1-1-1 record, as they needed overtime to defeat Latvia and dropped games to the group leaders Finland and United States. Canada will get their chance at revenge if they get through their quarterfinal opponent Russia. Canada is hoping for their fourth consecutive medal and return to gold after claiming the silver in 2017.
The newest member of the Avalanche, Pavel Francouz has been trading starts with David Rittich in hopes of securing the net for the Czech Republic’s quarterfinal match against the United States. The Czechs have done well to secure the third spot in group A, with a preliminary record of 3-3-0-1, but will draw the tough task of facing the Americans - who missed out on grabbing the top spot in their group due to goal differential. Francouz has started four games with three wins, including a shutout against Belarus. Additionally, he has a 2.21 goals against average and .904 save percentage. It remains to be seen if Francouz will get the start in the quarterfinals - as Rittich has seen the tougher opponents, but Francouz has seen more games. The Czech Republic are in search of their first medal since 2012.