HELSINKI, Finland – It’s quarterfinal Thursday here and at stake is the chance to advance and ultimately play for a medal. For Team USA, which finished fourth in Group B in preliminary round play after winning five of its seven games, it will face Switzerland, who went unbeaten and earned the top spot in Group A.
The game is set to faceoff at 8:20 p.m. (1:20 p.m. ET) at Helsinki Ice Hall and NHL Network will broadcast the game live. Germany and Czechia will battle here at 4:20 p.m., while Canada-Sweden and Finland-Slovakia quarterfinals will be played in Tampere today as well.
Team USA had a light skate this morning and the mood is upbeat heading into tonight’s contest.
“We’ve got a great group,” said David Quinn, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. “We’ve been through some adversity and that’s help us grow stronger as a team. We’re facing an excellent Swiss team tonight and will have to be at our best, but it’s a challenge we look forward to and embrace.”
The U.S. and Switzerland have met 25 previous times in the world championship with Team USA holding a 16-0-1-7-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) advantage. The two teams have met just once in quarterfinal play, that in 2015 with the U.S. prevailing by a 3-1 count.
The match-up features the stingy U.S. defense, which is giving up just 1.71 goals per game, against the top-scoring offense in the tournament in the Swiss, who are averaging nearly five goals a game.
Team USA is coming off a 4-2 victory over Norway on Tuesday in a game that ultimately had no impact on the final Group B standings.
Switzerland earned a 4-3 shootout win over Germany in its last outing, which came on Tuesday and earned the Swiss the top seed in Group A.
Jeremy Swayman is the expected starter in goal tonight for the U.S. The Boston Bruins netminder has started the previous four contests for Team USA and is second in the world championship with a 0.89 goals against average and .953 save percentage.
Team USA is looking to advance to the semifinals of the world championship for the fifth time in the last seven world championships. Advancing teams are re-seeded after the quarterfinals with the two semifinal games slated for Tampere on Saturday, and the bronze and gold-medal games there on Sunday.