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World Junior Hockey Championships 2013: Slow Saturday Ahead For Day 4

Sweden-Latvia and Russia-Germany the only two games on the docket

Richard Wolowicz

After an exciting and unpredictable Day 3 of the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships, things will take a quiet turn on Day 4, with only two matches scheduled.

Most of the bigger teams were in action on Day 3, leaving Saturday as the last of the relatively quiet days before the tournament really kicks into high gear. Sunday and Monday will both feature four games on the schedule to end the round robin before the final rounds begin on Wednesday.

Neither of Saturday's two games would really classify as must-see, but given the sometimes chaotic nature of the tournament who knows what will happen.

The defending-champion Swedes (2-0) start off the day's games versus the struggling Latvians (0-2). Sweden has had a relatively slow-but-steady start to the tournament, beating the Czech Republic 4-1 on Wednesday and then narrowly edging Switzerland 3-2 in the shootout on Friday. Despite two wins, the Swedes have certainly not shown the full extent of their capabilities, and could really unleash themselves on Latvia in order to start building momentum going forward.

Latvia will be hoping for all the breaks and bounces that they can get, but a victory any way they can achieve it would be seen as a tremendous upset.

The second match of the day, Russia versus Germany, could be entertaining for the sake of sheer excess. The hometown Russians (2-0) have as much offensive talent as any team in the tournament, but only managed three goals against Slovakia and then two against the USA. For a team featuring the likes of Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, and playing in front of a home nation with high hockey expectations, the lack of scoring has been insufficient so far, so the pressure will be on the team to really open up the ice and get the goals flowing.

Germany (0-2), after allowing nine goals to Canada in their tournament opener and then eight to the USA in their second match, will be trying to play the best defensive hockey that they possibly can against Russia, but could still easily find themselves on the losing side of another lopsided rout.