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Gameday: U.S. Looks for Second WJC Win Against Russia

By USA Hockey, 12/29/19, 2:55AM EST

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Puck drops at 1:00 p.m. ET

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – The United States takes on Russia in the third preliminary game of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships Sunday (Dec. 29) at 7 p.m. local time/1 p.m. ET at Ostravar Arena. Both teams enter tonight’s game with 1-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) records, as Team USA enjoyed a day off on Saturday, while Russia improved its tournament standing after last night’s 6-0 victory over Canada.

TODAY’S OPPONENT: RUSSIA

The U.S. National Junior Team has an 8-1-0-12-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) series record against Russia in the IIHF World Junior Championship. Coming into this game, the U.S is on a four-game win streak in WJC play versus Russia.

USA last met Russia in the semifinal of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship on Team USA’s way to a silver medal. The U.S. got off to a quick 2-0 lead before defeating Russia 2-1. Goaltender Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J.) stopped 34 of 35 shots, while Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) and Sasha Chmelevski (Huntington Beach, Calif.) scored for the U.S.

After two preliminary round games, Team USA’s Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y.) leads all tournament skaters in scoring with six points. Pinto’s three goals are tied for first among all skaters. Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) leads all tournament skaters with five assists in two games after dishing out four in USA’s 6-3 victory over Germany.

HOCKEY BLOODLINES

Mattias Samuelsson's father, Kjell Samuelsson, won a gold medal with Sweden at the 1991 Men's World Championship and a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. Kjell was a 1984 sixth round draft pick of the New York Rangers and went on to play 14 years in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. Kjell is the Director of Player Development currently with the Philadelphia Flyers. Mattias' brother, Lukas Samuelsson, is a current teammate at Western Michigan University (NCHC).

Jack Drury's father, Ted Drury, skated on two U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Teams (1992, 1994) in addition to playing eight seasons in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks, Hartford Whalers and Calgary Flames. Jack's uncle, Chris Drury, skated on three U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Teams (2002, 2006, 2010), helping the United States earn two silver medals (2002, 2010). Chris also skated 14 years in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. In 1996, he helped the Avalanche with the Stanley Cup and is the only player in history to win both the Hobey Baker Award as the best college player and the Calder Memorial Trophy as best NHL rookie.

Jacob Pivonka's father, Michal Pivonka, skated for Czechoslovakia at the World Junior Championship in 1986, 1985 (silver) and 1984 (bronze), serving as captain in both 1986 and 1985, and led his team in scoring en route to a silver medal in 1985. Michal's 26 points (15-11–26) in 21 games rank 4th all-time in Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic World Junior Championship history, while his 21 games played rank 2nd all-time. Michal was a third-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 1984 and went on to play 13 seasons in the NHL, all with Washington.

Alex Turcotte's father, Alfie Turcotte, skated for Team USA at the 1984 World Junior Championship scoring 11 points (2-9-11) in seven games. Alfie was a 1983 first round selection of the Montreal Canadiens and played seven years in the NHL.

Nick Robertson's brother, Jason Robertson, played for Team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championship winning a silver medal. Jason finished T-2nd in team scoring with seven points (1-6-7). Jason is a Dallas Stars 2017 second round pick, and currently skates with the Texas Stars (AHL).

Curtis Hall's father, Mike Hall, previously played at Bowling Green State University (CCHA) for four seasons, followed by a six-year professional career that included 18 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL).

Oliver Wahlstrom's father, Joakim Wahlstrom, played hockey at the University of Maine for two seasons (1988-90) prior to playing professionally in the Swedish Elite League.


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U.S. Tournament Schedule

Date Opponent Location TIME (LOCAL/ET)/RESULT Broadcast U.S. Player of the Game
Thurs., Dec. 26 Canada
Preliminary
Ostravar Arena L, 4-6 NHL Network Shane Pinto
Fri., Dec. 27 Germany
Preliminary
Ostravar Arena W, 6-3 NHL Network Trevor Zegras
Sun., Dec. 29 Russia
Preliminary
Ostravar Arena W, 3-1 NHL Network Spencer Knight
Mon., Dec. 30 Czech Republic
Preliminary
Ostravar Arena OTW, 4-3 NHL Network Cole Caufield
Thurs., Jan. 2 Finland
Quarterfinal
Werk Arena L, 0-1 NHL Network Spencer Knight

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