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Gameday: Team USA Faces the Czech Republic in Final WJC Preliminary Round Game

By USA Hockey, 12/30/19, 5:45AM EST


Puck drops at 1:00 p.m. ET

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.

Czech Roots

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.

Yesterday's Highlights

Yesterday's Photos

Yesterday's Postgame Comments

U.S. Roster

Sights and Sounds

Daily Notebook

U.S. Tournament Schedule

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

2020 IIHF Homepage

World Juniors History

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