Posted by Natalie Dillon
With the preliminary round of the IIHF World Championship in the books, five players in the Wild organization are gearing up for their quarterfinal contests tomorrow.
Under leadership of captain Mikko Koivu, Team Finland went 5-2 in the preliminaries and finished third in Group H. Finland is set to face off against second-ranked Team USA in the quarterfinals. While we’re sorry the matchup of Koivu and prospect Mikael Granlund with the Americans may test your loyalties in the State of Hockey, the Finland-USA pairing comes with some good news: You’ll be able to catch all the action, as NBC Sports Network will air the game live at 10:30 a.m. CST.
Finland will look to avenge Sunday’s disappointing performance against USA, when the tournament host was shut out 5-0 in front of the hometown crowd. Team Finland responded to the loss with a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan in its final preliminary contest Monday. Koivu posted two assists against Kazakhstan, bringing his total to a team-leading six assists and team second-most eight points. Granlund has four assists, tied for third on Finland.
Wild prospects Johan Larsson and Jonas Brodin helped Team Sweden to a second-place finish in Group S with a 6-1 record. The Swedes will match up with the Czech Republic, who they beat earlier in the tournament 4-1. So far, Larsson has two assists, and Brodin has one goal. Both have played in six of Sweden’s seven games.
While Team Canada’s backup goaltender Matt Hackett has yet to see action, his team finished the preliminaries ranked first in Group H. The Canadians will face fourth-ranked Slovakia, who they defeated 3-2 in their first game of the tournament.
For the latest highlights and interviews from the IIHF World Championship, click here.
Here is a complete listing of the quarterfinal matchups to be aired Thursday, May 17 on NBC Sports Network:
Canada vs. Slovakia 5:00 a.m.
Russia vs. Norway 7:45 a.m.
USA vs. Finland 10:30 a.m.
Sweden vs. Czech Republic 1:15 p.m.