Germany takes on Finland, Russia meets Norway
by Niklas Aßfalg/Christian Bellinger
After the first playoff round of the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship, the quarter-finalists have been determined and will face off to take one step closer to winning the first-ever IIHF Exports Fan Championship.
The field of participants in the IIHF Esports Fan Championship was halved over the weekend, and eight teams are still alive. Four of the eight remaining duos will compete on Tuesday in the first half of the quarter-finals. Russia and Norway will kick off the round, facing each other from 4pm (UTC) on the virtual ice of EA SPORTS™ NHL™ 20. Once again, two individual games will be played on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the combined results determining the winner. If the final result is a balanced goal difference, a sudden-death overtime will decide who advances to the semi-finals.
In the round of the last 16, the Russians beat their neighbours Kazakhstan with ease. Sergei 'Serg1vratar_vH' Filippov and Maksim 'mahoney88' Krinitsyn scored four individual victories for a clear final result of 24-8. The Kazakhs had little to challenge especially against 'mahoney88', with the 25-year-old conceding just two goals while notching 13 of his own. However, Russia will face a tough test in the quarter-finals with the Norwegians. The Scandinavians, for their part, beat Switzerland 18-10 and made the crowd sit up and take notice. Even with th Siss icing an experience e-sportsman in Sven 'OriginaL-SnuS' Julmi, Lars Petter 'Larsto50' Sto and Daniel 'Bacon' Baekken did their job professionally and swept the Swiss in four games. With Norway now looking like the tournament’s dark horse, predicting the outcome will be tough, but spectators can expect an exciting game.
The starting position before the duel between Finland and Germany at 7pm (UTC) is somewhat different. The reigning IIHF Ice Hockey World Champions have iced two pros for the digital version: Erik 'Tilantekija' Tammenpää, who won the NHL™ Gaming World Championship in 2018, and Joel 'rottadee' Myllymäki, who gave Great Britain no chance last Friday in a 27-6 blowout. The Germans are the underdogs, but with Tim 'Timasy' Hess they have a shot as the 21-year-old secured the eDEL CUP in March 2020. Together with Martin 'Venomenyce' Perenz, who won both his matches without conceding a goal, the Germans had the defensive strength needed to pose a challenge to the Finns.
The winners of the two matches will then face each other in the semi-finals to determine one of the two participants in the Grand Final of the IIHF Esports Fan Championship 2020. You can find more information here.