2022 World Junior Championship Predictions: Latvia vs Sweden

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We’ve made it! The quarter-finals are here for the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Sweden, who finished second in their group to advance, is coming off of a 4-2 victory over Germany. Taking on the Swedes is everyone’s favourite underdog, Latvia. After upsetting Czechia by a score of 5-2, the Latvians went from not qualifying for the top tournament, to replacing Belarus and Russia, to qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time. 

2022 World Junior Championship

Sweden vs Latvia

Team Sweden 

Starting off, let’s look at the Swedish squad. Currently being led by the talented Emil Andrae, who has seven points in four games, Sweden has scored the fourth most goals in the tournament. On top of that, they have given up the third least amount of goals. Meanwhile, in net, their goaltenders Calle Clang and Jesper Wallstedt, are in the top-five for save percentages in the tournament. Clang ranks first with a 0.944 save percentage, while Wallstedt sits fourth with a 0.922. 

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With an outstanding offensive attack featuring the likes of Fabian Lysell, Isak Rosen, Liam Ohgren and many more notable names, it’s easy to see why they’re one of the top offences in the tournament thus far. Plus, with guys like Andrae, William Wallinder, Simon Edvinsson and more notable names on the backend, they are a very well-balanced team on paper. But what possibly sets them apart from every other team in this tournament is their excellent goaltending. Latvia has a large hill to climb in this quarterfinals match-up. 

Team Latvia

For Latvia to beat the stacked Swedish squad, they’re going to need to play exactly the same way as they did against Czechia in their last contest. Be advantageous. Do not let scoring chances slip away. Their goaltender, Bruno Bruveris needs to step up to the tall task ahead of him once again. Meanwhile, players like Martins Lavins and Ralfs Bergmanis need to have big days once again. 

Player To Watch

For Sweden, the player to watch is Fabian Lysell. Lysell is a dynamic player who creates havoc transitionally and with his skating ability. The Boston Bruins prospect has been a game-changer at times for his squad, and in a big game like this one, he could be the guy they look to for offensive generation. 

As for Latvia, Bruno Bruveris is the easy choice. After stopping 33 of 35 shots against Czechia, punching Latvia’s ticket to the elimination games, he’s likely going to be peppered with shots once again. Sweden is a far more dynamic offensive team than Czechia, making this a much taller task. But if Latvia wants to move forward, their goaltender needs to have another world-class performance. 

2022 World Junior Championship Prediction

Unfortunately for the incredible underdog story, Latvia’s time in this tournament may be coming to an end. Sweden is stocked full of dynamic players up and down their lineup, and their goaltenders are absolutely dominant. It is unlikely that Latvia will put the puck past either one of Clang or Wallstedt enough times to outscore the Swedish offence. Latvia may put up a much better fight than many anticipate, but it is likely too much for them to handle. 

Prediction: Sweden wins 3-1. 

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