International Ice Hockey Federation

Between heaven and hell

Between heaven and hell

Five teams in run for Slovakia 2019

Published 15.08.2018 07:31 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Between heaven and hell
Great Britain and Slovenia are the favourites for promotion to the top division according to the mathematical scenarios. But the games still have to be played and Italy, Hungary and Kazakhstan have chances too. Photo: Laszlo Mudra
Many teams at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division IA are between heaven and hell on the last day with both promotion and relegation possible.

With Great Britain having 9 points, four teams tied at 6 points (Italy, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Hungary) and Poland 3 points almost everything is possible in Budapest. Five teams are in the race for the two spots for promotion to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia. But three teams can be relegated. Beside Poland, also Kazakhstan and Hungary are in danger of relegation while still being able to earn promotion. These are the short facts of the arguably most exciting final day in Division I Group A history!

The head-to-head records will be the tie-breaker between two or more teams with the same number of points. This gives us the following scenarios and their chances to finish in the top-two.

Great Britain, mathematical chances: 91%
Great Britain is of course in pole position and has promotion fully in its own hands. The math is simple: beat Hungary or get at least one point with a regulation-time tie and you go up for the first top-level participation since 1994! In case of a regulation time loss promotion is still possible with some help. However, a tie against teams they lost – Kazakhstan and in that scenario Hungary – could cost them a top-two place. In case of a tie with Hungary and Slovenia, also the head-to-head point ranking would be tied and the head-to-head goal difference would decide where a loss with three or more goals against Hungary would put GB in third place. Better to avoid such calculations if you can!

Slovenia, mathematical chances: 39%
Rock-bottom after two days, Slovenia has staged a big comeback here in Budapest with wins against Hungary and Kazakhstan and has now promotion in its own hands. If Slovenia beats Italy in regulation time, a top-two place will be theirs no matter what happens in the other games thanks to their head-to-head wins against contenders Hungary, Italy and Kazakhstan. In case of a three-team tie with Great Britain and Hungary at nine points, all three teams would be tied in the head-to-head rankings by points too but Slovenia has a positive goal difference against the two teams (5-4). An overtime or shootout win against Italy may also lead to a top-two finish depending on the results in the other two games, meaning they would have to cheer on Poland and Great Britain today!

Italy, mathematical chances: 30%
Italy looked like a strong contender for promotion in the beginning but suffered a blow with the loss to Great Britain last night. Now they don’t have it in their own hands anymore but with a win against Slovenia can still make it. In case of a regulation-time win against Slovenia, Italy will be promoted if Hungary doesn’t beat Great Britain in regulation time. In case of an overtime or shootout win against Slovenia, Italy also has a small possibility to end in the top-two depending on the other results.

Hungary, mathematical chances: 24%
Hungary needs a regulation-time win against Great Britain, preferably with a difference of three goals or more in case of a three-team tie of these two teams with Slovenia, to at least have the chance to earn promotion. And to avoid a four-team tie with Great Britain, Kazakhstan and Slovenia at nine points would be helpful too although this is not entirely in their hands. An overtime or shootout win can be enough if Kazakhstan loses to Poland and Italy beats Slovenia in overtime or shootout as Hungary would be ahead of Italy if only they are tied at eight points. At the same time Hungary is danger of relegation if it loses in regulation time and will be tied at six points in certain scenarios (tie with KAZ+POL, tie with KAZ+POL+SLO).

Kazakhstan, mathematical chances: 16%
After a good start with wins against Hungary and Great Britain, the KHL-heavy roster seemed to be on its way to march through. The losses against Italy and Slovenia were a major disappointment. They now need to beat Poland in regulation time and hope for favourable results. If Slovenia-Italy goes to overtime, that will lift Kazakhstan to a top-two placing. Otherwise a Hungarian regulation-time win against Great Britain will be helpful. At the same time Kazakhstan is also battling against relegation. If Kazakhstan loses to Poland in regulation time, they will be tied with Poland or be involved in a three-team tie or four-team tie in which most scenarios would see Kazakhstan in last place.

Poland, mathematical chances: 0%
Poland is the only team that didn’t win more than one out of four games and is thus eliminated from the race for promotion. However, the battle against relegation is not over. If they beat Kazakhstan in regulation time, the Poles will create a tie for last place at six points in which they would be well off having defeated Kazakhstan in that case. The team has its future in the Division I Group A in its own hands.

Disclaimer: This article is for informing fans about the pre-game day scenarios. Only the official final ranking after the last game in accordance with the 2018 IIHF Sport Regulations will be relevant in deciding the ranking, the promoted and the relegated teams.


Back to Overview