Day 16 - December 30

The final off-day of the preliminary round, the U.S. is using today to regroup ahead of its final Group B game tomorrow. At 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET), the U.S. will meet Finland in what is likely to determine the second and third seeds of Group B. 

The final day of preliminary round action at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship arrives with a multitude of possible quarterfinal matchups. As it currently stands, the breakdown is as follows:

CAN (1A) vs. SVK (4B)
RUS (2A) vs. FIN (3B)
SWE (1B) vs. CZE (4A)
USA (2B) vs. SUI (3A)

In Group A, Canada and Russia will face off in a game that will determine the group's first seed while the Czech Republic-Denmark matchup carries a number of implications, the most notable of which is that the game's loser will fall to the Relegation Round. The Czechs need a win in any fashion to move ahead of Switzerland into third place, while an overtime loss will see them through to the quarterfinals as the fourth seed. The Danes need a regulation win to reach the quarterfinals as the fourth overall seed.

The Group B scenarios are a bit more defined, particularly should Sweden defeat Kazakhstan as a win will see them through to the quarterfinal as the top seed. That would make tonight's game between the U.S. and Finland one that, for the second straight year, determines second and third seeds of the group. Currently, the U.S. holds second place with seven points and Finland is third with six points while last night's 11-2 victory over Kazakhstan gives Slovakia three points for the fourth and final Group B quarterfinal berth.

On Dec. 29, the U.S. scored four unanswered goals - including a natural hat trick by Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University) - over the last 10:26 of regulation to force overtime, but was unable to complete the comeback as it fell to Sweden 5-4, in overtime. Poehling, who also assisted on Team USA's first goal, was tabbed the U.S. Player of the Game. For the complete recap, click here.