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GAMEDAY: Win or Go Home, USA Takes On Slovakia in Quarterfinals

By USA Hockey, 01/02/21, 7:45AM EST


Puck drops at 10:30pm ET on NHL Network, U.S. Looks to Carry Momentum From Preliminary Round Success

EDMONTON, Alberta – After earning the top seed in Group B preliminary action, the U.S. will look to continue its pursuit for a gold medal. It’s win or go home, something the eight returners from last year’s squad remember painfully well after losing to Finland, 1-0, in the quarterfinal round.

Team USA and Slovakia have only met once in quarterfinal play, with Slovakia gaining a 5-3 win in the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship. However, the U.S. holds a significant advantage over the past 10 games with an 8-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record, outscoring Slovakia 49-22. The U.S. National Junior Team has won seven of the last eight matchups, including by a 2-1 count in their most recent meeting in 2019.

Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) has led the charge offensively with a tournament-leading 13 points over four games. His six goals also are tied for top honors. Scoring has come from every line for the United States, with 12 of 13 forwards picking up points and 11 different forwards scoring goals. The defensive corps has combined for 19 points including four goals.

Goaltenders Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) and Dustin Wolf (Gilroy, Calif.) combined to stop all 59 shots they faced against Austria, Czech Republic and Sweden. It was the first time in U.S. World Juniors history that a team recorded three shutouts, as Knight became the first U.S. goaltender to record back-to-back shutouts.

Today’s Opponent: Slovakia

The United States holds a 13-0-0-4-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) all-time advantage over Slovakia, with the U.S. outscoring Slovakia 77-40. In their last 10 matchups the U.S. holds an 8-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) advantage, outscoring Slovakia 49-22. Team USA will look to improve its all-time quarterfinal record, 11-8, with an attempt to play in a medal round for the fifth time in six years.

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