In a surprising twist at the World Junior Championship, Kazakhstan swept Denmark in their relegation series to stay in the Top Division for 2020, sending Denmark back to Division IA for the first time since 2014.
Denmark, who became the first team in tournament history to not register a single goal during the Group Round, suffered lopsided losses to Canada, Slovakia, Russia and Czechia, being outscored 26-0 in four games.
While many expected them to send Kazakhstan back down in their relegation series, as Kazakhstan has failed to stay in the Top Division for consecutive seasons since 2009, the fan-favourite Kazakhs swept the relegation series in Vancouver, first with a 4-3 defeat on the back of a 40-save performance from goaltender Demid Yeremeyev, and again today with a 4-0 win, chasing Danish keeper Mads Søgaard with two goals in the first 4:47 of the game to seal the victory.
Denmark will now join Austria, Belarus, Latvia, Norway and newly-promoted Slovenia, in next year’s Division IA series, while Germany will replace the Danes as the promoted team in the Top Division, making their return to the top for the first time since 2015, finishing atop Division IA with a five-point lead at this year’s tournament on home ice in Füssen.
The Danes are relegated for the first time since 2012, the first year only a single team was relegated at the tournament after many years of two teams being relegated, joining an inconsistent rotation of various teams being sent back down to Division IA over the years:
For a tournament which has seen its fair share of surprises in the past 48 hours, whether it was the shocking eliminations of Sweden or Canada, and now this relegation, the final three games of the tournament will surely have more drama in store.