clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

World Juniors 2015: Canada vs Denmark preview, TV schedule, roster news, & more

David faces Goliath as Denmark and Canada meet in the quarter-finals.

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 29: Zachary Fucale #31 of Team Canada makes a save with teammate Shea Theodore #6 defending during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship
MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 29: Zachary Fucale #31 of Team Canada makes a save with teammate Shea Theodore #6 defending during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The fourth quarter-final matchup, as Canada and Denmark compete to see who will go on to play either the Czech Republic or Slovakia in the semifinals.

This may be the tournament's best David and Goliath matchup yet: Canada has fifteen gold medals in the WJC; Denmark has one win, period.

The beauty of short tournaments like the WJC, however, is that anything could happen in one lucky game. Canada will head into the game undefeated (4-0-0-0, 12 points), with the best goal differential of the tournament and the best powerplay. Denmark, with a decent, if unexceptional record.(0-1-2-1, four points) will be making its first appearance in the medal round.

An uneven matchup, but it wouldn't be a David and Goliath story if David didn't stand a chance of winning. Canada should watch out for Denmark's Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nikolaj Ehlers, two offensively gifted players who could pose a real threat to Canada's defense. Bjorkstrand has 4G, 1A in the tournament, including his shootout win, and Ehlers has 1G, 3A. Denmark plays big and physical, and their PK and PP have been surprisingly tough to crack. Bjorkstrand and Ehlers have been excellent for Denmark, but the difference maker will be their goalie, Georg Sorensen. Aside from his one rough patch where he gave up 3 goals on 9 shots against the Swiss team, Sorenson has been an anchor for his team. For Denmark to steal this game, Sorenson must forget about Switzerland, and play like he had in the rest of the tournament, returning to his rock solid performance in net.

Goaltending is also the main story of the Canadian team, with coach Benoit Broulx choosing to start the Montreal Canadiens' prospect Zach Fucale over Eric Comrie in the quarter-finals. Groulx insists that there is a process that his staff goes through to pick the starter, and that they're satisfied with both goalies. They should, as both goalies have been impressive. Comrie has 1.55 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, while Fucale has a 0.50 GAA and .975 save percentage (from two preliminary games). We'll see if Groulx made the right choice, but again, he couldn't have made a wrong one.

The top defensive pairing of Darnell Nurse and Shea Theodore will play a big role in containing the Danes, hopefully giving the same type of performance that they did against the US in their New Year's Eve matchup. Canada's defense has been uncanny in shutting down other teams, and it's up to Denmark to find any hole they can.

Up in front, Canada has the Anthony Duclair - Sam Reinhart - Max Domi combination, good for nine goals and 19 points so far. Visualise a steamroller with black and red maple leafs painted on, advancing rapidly across the ice. That's the Canadian top line.

Denmark has a tough game ahead of them, but with a bit of luck, stubbornness, and a lights-out performance from Sorenson, we could just witness the most entertaining upset of the the WJC.

Canada Denmark
4-0-0-0 Record 1-3-0-0
21 Goals For 10
4 Goals Against 15
50 Powerplay % 33.75
100 Penalty Kill % 84.21

Puck drop is at 8:00 PM EST (TSN/TSN GO/RDS 2/NHL Network)
Team Canada Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Max Domi Sam Reinhart (A) Anthony Duclair
Nick Ritchie Connor McDavid (A) Curtis Lazar (C)
Nick Paul Nic Petan Robby Fabbri
Lawson Crouse Frederik Gauthier Jake Virtanen
Brayden Point
Left Defense Right Defense
Darnell Nurse Shea Theodore
Samuel Morin Madison Bowey
Josh Morrissey Joe Hicketts
Dillon Heatherington
Eric Comrie
Zachary Fucale

Team Denmark Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Mads Eller (A) Olivier Bjorkstrand (A) Nikolaj Ehlers
Matthias Asperup Mikkel Aagaard (C) Emil Rasmussen
Nick Olesen Marcus Nielsen Jeppe Holmberg
Andre Pison Alexander True Kristian Jensen
Soren Nielsen
Left Defense Right Defense
Matias Lassen Mads Larsen
Sonny Hertzberg Anders Krogsgaard
Victor Eskerod Daniel Nielsen
Daniel Hansen
George Sorensen
Thomas Lillie

Scratched: Nicolaj Henriksen