The IIHF World Junior Championship Quarterfinals start today. Through the Preliminary Rounds there was a lot of chatter about some of the blowouts, so I thought I would take the opportunity to look at the trends over the years to see if there might be a broader theme.
Margin of Victory
Thanks to a couple big blowouts by Canada and the US, the margin of victory has certainly inflated in the 2021 tournament compared to previous years. It would be premature to say there is a significant trend here, especially considering all the variables leading up to the 2021 tournament.
Average Goals Scored
Similar to the average margin of victory, the early blowouts by Canada and United States are certainly showing up in this “average goals scored by game” visual.
If you look over the last six years, this still looks like a blip on the radar as opposed to a full-scale trend. Canada saw an increase of four additional goals scored per game compared to 2020, while the US saw an increase of two goals scored compared to 2020.
Being that 2020 was such a unique year across the hockey world and that we are not seeing broad trends across multiple years, it would be premature to suggest changes to the IIHF World Junior format based on the 2021 Preliminary Round games. The games have still been enjoyable and for teams like Austria and Switzerland, they earned the right to play in this tournament. Regardless of the blowouts, the games provide upcoming players an opportunity to be seen on an international stage and to grow in their hockey career.
Enjoy the games!