After some solid development in the men’s team department over the past few years, France will earn promotion to the Division IA World Juniors after defeating Poland 7-2 in the final game of the tournament.
France had a tough challenge up for grabs. A victory would tie them for first place, but unless they found a way to beat the strong Polish team by four or more goals, they weren’t going to take the top prize. A loss would actually leave them in third place, trailing Poland and Great Britain in the final rankings. A loss to Team GB put things in jeopardy a few days prior, but a big victory on Friday would seal the deal for the French.
And that’s exactly what they did, pacing Poland for 60 minutes before eventually blowing out their rivals 7-2. The five-goal cushion was exactly what the team needed to leapfrog them into first place, taking the Division IB World Junior tournament and advancing to the second highest tournament for next year.
The win marks the first time France has gained promotion to Division IA in the past four years, taking a measly fourth place finish a year ago. With France’s victory, the team will replace Italy in a tournament that could decide whether or not the team makes it to the top tournament for 2018 in Buffalo.
On the flip side, Slovenia, who came into the tournament as the top-ranked team due to being relegated from Division IA the year before, failed to generate anything to finish dead last in the tournament. Featuring a team mainly of 18-year-olds, Slovenia failed to create much offense which led to a rough tournament for the country that saw the men’s team relegated from the top division of the World Championships this year. Fortunately, with Japan dropping out of the event, Slovenia will not have to worry about relegation for a year and could come back with a very strong squad next December to help their effort.
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