OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – The United States takes on the Czech Republic in the fourth and final preliminary game of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships tonight at 7 p.m. local time at Ostravar Arena. NHL Network will broadcast the game live at 1 p.m. ET.
Team USA is 2-0-0-1 in this year’s tournament, while the Czech Republic currently stands at 1-0-0-1. Heading into yesterday’s games, all five Group B teams were tied at 1-0-0-1; since the tournament reformatted group play in 1996, no World Junior Championship group has featured a five-way tie after two games.
Team USA defeated Russia 3-1 last night and took the lead in preliminary Group B play, and is now only one of two teams with a positive goal differential. Today’s game will complete the second set of back-to-back games in preliminary play. The U.S. has played well in recent history in game two of back-to-back sets, including a 6-3 win over Germany in Game 2 of 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary play. USA is 6-1-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in second games of back-to-back sets in its last eight preliminary matchups.
Today’s Opponent: Czech Republic
The U.S. National Junior Team has a 13-1-1-7-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) series record against the Czech Republic in the IIHF World Junior Championship. Coming into this game, the U.S has outscored Czech Republic 82-64 all time.
The United States last met the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal of the 2019 World Junior Championship on Team USA’s way to silver medal. Cayden Primeau stopped 18 of 19 shots as the U.S. defeated Czech Republic 3-1 in the 2019 quarterfinals. Josh Norris scored what proved to be the game-winning goal early in the second period.
Jacob Pivonka would visit his Czech family during the summer when he was young. Jacob's father Michal skated for Czechoslovakia at the World Junior Championship in 1986, 1985 (silver) and 1984 (bronze), serving as captain in both 1986 and 1985.
Team USA Debut
Defenseman Jordan Harris made his international Team USA debut against Canada on Thursday (Dec. 26) night. Harris previously attended USA Hockey Development Camps and played in the 2017 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, picking up an assist in the game. USA Hockey invited Harris to attend the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase in July for preparation of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Haverhill, Mass. native is currently skating for Northeastern University, where he won a Hockey East Championship and Bean Pot Championship in 2019, and was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft.
|Date||Opponent||Location||TIME (LOCAL/ET)/RESULT||Broadcast||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Thurs., Dec. 26||Canada
|Ostravar Arena||L, 4-6||NHL Network||Shane Pinto|
|Fri., Dec. 27||Germany
|Ostravar Arena||W, 6-3||NHL Network||Trevor Zegras|
|Sun., Dec. 29||Russia
|Ostravar Arena||W, 3-1||NHL Network||Spencer Knight|
|Mon., Dec. 30||Czech Republic
|Ostravar Arena||OTW, 4-3||NHL Network||Cole Caufield|
|Thurs., Jan. 2||Finland
|Werk Arena||L, 0-1||NHL Network||Spencer Knight|