OTTAWA - Since the IIHF's institution of a Playoff Round system in 1996, in the nine years when the top team in each Preliminary Round group was given a bye to the semi-finals (1996, 1997, 1999, and 2003 to the present), only twice has a quarter-final participant gone on to win the gold medal: 1997 (Canada) and 2008 (Canada).
The last time Slovakia played in a quarter-final was a 4-2 loss to its neighbouring rival, the Czech Republic, on January 2, 2004.
The last time the U.S. played in a quarter-final was a 6-3 win over Finland on January 2, 2007.
The last time Russia and the Czech Republic played in a quarter-final was a 4-1 win for Russia on January 2, 2008.
The biggest-ever margin of victory in a quarter-final was Finland's 14-1 romp over Kazakhstan on December 31, 1997 in Helsinki.
The tightest quarter-final ever was Finland's 1-0 overtime victory over Sweden on January 2, 2006 in Vancouver. Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask made 53 saves en route to the shutout.
There is no “home ice curse” when it comes to host teams at the IIHF World Junior Championship advancing to the semi-finals. But the home crowd doesn't provide an overwhelming advantage either. Overall, host teams have a record of six wins and four losses in quarter-finals since 1996. Here is how they fared.
The United States (host) lost 3-0 to Sweden in 1996.
Finland (host) beat Kazakhstan 14-1 in 1998.
Canada (host) beat Kazakhstan 14-2 in 1999.
The Czech Republic (host) beat Kazakhstan 6-3 in 2000.
Russia (host) lost 3-2 to Sweden in 2001.
The Czech Republic (host) lost 3-1 to Finland in 2002.
Finland (host) beat Russia 4-3 in 2004.
The United States (host) beat Sweden 8-2 in 2005.
Sweden (host) beat the Czech Republic 5-1 in 2007.
The Czech Republic (host) lost 4-1 to Russia in 2008.