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GAMEDAY: USA Faces Off Against Sweden, Looks to Clinch Top Seed in Group B

By USA Hockey, 12/31/20, 8:25AM EST


Final Preliminary Round Game Starts at 9:30pm ET on NHL Network

EDMONTON, Alberta – The United States and Sweden enter tonight’s matchup in hopes of clinching the top seed in Group B play. If either team wins in regulation, they are the first overall seed. An overtime or shootout win makes things a little more complicated. If the U.S. wins in overtime or shootout, it would force a three-way tie atop Group B, giving the advantage to Russia (head-to-head tie breaker over both countries) and Team USA will be the second overall seed. A loss of any kind places the United States as the third seed in Group B.

Team USA and Sweden have had a close report all-time, with the U.S. possessing a 14-1-1-16-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) record. Sweden is coming off an overtime loss to Russia last night, its first preliminary round loss in more than 14 years. The U.S. was the last team to defeat Sweden in preliminary play, prior to Russia, in the 2007 tournament thanks to a Jack Johnson power play goal in overtime. Head coach Nate Leaman was serving as an assistant coach for USA in the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Both teams will continue to focus on discipline, as they are the two least penalized teams in the tournament thus far. Special teams are even more important tonight, as the United States power play will want to capitalize on any opportunities Sweden gives while a man down. The U.S. power play ranks second in the tournament, scoring at a 46.15% rate.

Today’s Opponent: Sweden

The United States has a 14-1-1-16-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) all-time advantage over the Sweden, with Sweden outscoring the U.S. 126-114. In their last 10 matchups the U.S. holds an 6-1-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) advantage, outscoring the Sweden 39-23. Team USA’s advantage over Sweden has become more distinct in playoff and medal round games, holding a 7-2 advantage over Sweden, including a 4-0 record over the Swedes in medal-round games.

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