2024 IIHF Women's World Championship: Quarterfinals Preview
- 4 min read

2024 IIHF Women's World Championship: Quarterfinals Preview

2024 IIHF Women's World Championship: Quarterfinals Preview by Zoë Hayden

The quarterfinal round for the IIHF Women's World Championship top division begins tomorrow in Utica, New York. The Victory Press' Nicole Haase and Melissa Burgess will be providing you with onsite coverage of the playoff round.

All Group A teams automatically qualify for the quarterfinals. In Group B, China and Denmark have been relegated, while Germany, Sweden, and Japan have qualified for the playoffs and will be vying to advance and improve their ranking. After the quarterfinals, the teams will be re-seeded.

The two highest-ranked losing teams in the quarterfinal round will play a game to determine fifth and sixth place on Saturday morning ahead of the semifinals. The fifth-place team is guaranteed a spot in Group A at the 2025 tournament. The two lowest-ranked teams will receive a final ranking based on their preliminary round results.

Here's a look at each quarterfinal matchup. All four games will be contested on Thursday, April 11 – it's a jam-packed day.

Finland vs. Switzerland

10:00 AM Eastern, NHL Network and TSN1

This is the only matchup of the quarterfinals between two teams who have already met in the group stage. Finland beat Switzerland pretty handily by a score of 5 to 2, more than doubling Switzerland's shots on goal 33 to 15. Lara Stalder has been a nonstop threat for Switzerland, but none of their other players have been consistently getting looks and only one other player, Sinja Leemann, has scored a goal. Alina Müller has been well-defended, but has been good in the faceoff circle. While Switzerland has looked more connected as a team than they have in recent past tournaments, their offense is still a problem. They found an extra gear last year against Japan, beating them twice in group play and in the quarterfinals before falling to Canada and Czechia in the medal round, but Finland is going to be a much tougher opponent.

Finland's game against Switzerland was their only win in group play and they probably feel confident headed in to this matchup as their play has only improved throughout the tournament, scoring more goals in each consecutive game after being shut out 4-0 by Czechia in their opening tilt. Elisa Holopainen and Petra Nieminen each have 2 goals and Susanna Tapani scored a beauty against Switzerland the last time they met.

In net, Andrea Brändli has been excellent for Switzerland and has the potential to steal a game. Sanni Ahola may not be as busy so will need to be sharp to breakaway chances, which have become Switzerland's go-to strategy for sparking offense.

This feels like Finland's game to lose, but Switzerland will be hungry and will not want a downgrade on their fourth-place finish from 2023.

Czechia vs. Germany

1:30 PM Eastern, NHL Network and TSN1

It's been awhile since these two teams last met at the 2019 Worlds in Finland; in the group stage back then, Czechia blanked Germany 2-0, outshooting them 37 to 10 and getting two goals from now-retired captain Alena Mills.

Both teams are very different now, though Czechia returns a surprising amount of the same personnel, and a few German players were there as well. Germany was an offensive powerhouse in Group B and has only allowed 2 goals in the entire tournament, largely thanks to Sandra Abstreiter. Their 1-0 upset of Sweden proved that they can grind out a close game and stop a potent offense. Czechia's physicality, though, will be a big challenge, and Klára Peslarová will be the toughest goalie they've yet faced. If Germany can keep pace early, this could be closer than expected, but that's a very tall order.

On paper, it's hard to see how Czechia loses this, but I also don't want to underestimate a German team that swept their group and has proven they can play shutdown defense. But if anyone can light up Sandra Abstreiter, it's probably Czechia's top six (including her PWHL Ottawa teammate Tereza Vanišová).

Canada vs. Sweden

5:00 PM Eastern, ESPN+ and TSN1

Sweden took Canada to overtime in the 2023 semifinals and neither side will have forgotten that. Emma Söderberg stopped 51 of 54 shots in the overtime loss, which ended as Sarah Nurse scored with just 34 seconds on the OT clock. Canada gave up a 2-0 lead to find themselves in that position, and will not want to repeat the experience.

Sweden still has many of the same scoring threats who pushed Canada to the brink, including the goal-scorers from that game, Hilda Svensson and Lina Ljungblom. Söderberg is their likely goaltender again. Sweden will need to be opportunistic to find their offense as they were in 2023, and they'll need another near-perfect performance out of Söderberg.

Last year Canada started Emerance Maschmeyer, and may make that decision again if they want to rest Ann-Renée Desbiens – it's hard to go wrong with any Canadian goaltender. Canada's roster of skaters is also largely the same. Canada will need to play the same tight defense they played against Czechia and keep their foot on the gas. As they learned last year, underestimating your opponent has consequences.

USA vs. Japan

8:30 PM Eastern, NHL Network and TSN1

Team Japan earned the honor of facing Team USA by avoiding relegation to Division IA and it won't be an easy game for them. I don't want to linger on it too much, but the gap between these two programs is still very large. Team USA is a juggernaut this year and Japan barely escaped being demoted. At best, it's an opportunity for Team Japan to practice team defense. I do have to say that I would probably rather step on a Lego than watch an NHL Network intermission program during this game if it's anything like what they've been producing so far, but I'll report back on how they do.

Follow @_MelissaBurgess and @NicoleHaase on Twitter for live, on-the-ground coverage during the playoffs, and consider a subscription to the Victory Press if you don't have one already. Our paying subscribers will be receiving extra content during the elimination round. You can also follow @thevictorypress on Instagram.