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U.S. Closes Out Preliminary Round Play in World Juniors Sunday

By USA Hockey, 12/30/23, 6:45PM EST


Opening faceoff against Slovakia set for 6 a.m. ET; Watch game live on NHL Network

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – The U.S. and Slovakia faceoff on New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) here in the final preliminary round game for both teams in the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Opening faceoff is set for 12 p.m. local/6 a.m. ET and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.

The winner of the contest will win Group B and play the fourth-place finisher from Group A in the tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday (Jan. 2), while the loser will finish second in Group B and play the third-seed from Group A in the quarterfinals.

The U.S. is looking to win its preliminary round group for the third straight year and ninth time overall. Team USA has finished in the top two of its group in preliminary round action in each of the last 10 World Juniors.

The U.S. is coming off a 4-3 shootout win over Czechia on Friday (Dec. 29) with Isaac Howard scoring the decisive goal in the seventh round of the shootout and Jacob Fowler stopping six of seven Czech shooters. Gabe Perreault scored a high-pressure goal with his marker in the bottom of the fifth round sending the shootout into extra rounds.

Slovakia has won each of its first three games in regulation, including a 6-2 victory over Czechia to open the tournament on Tuesday (Dec. 26), a 3-0 victory over Switzerland on Wednesday (Dec. 27), and an 8-4 triumph in its last outing on Friday (Dec. 29) against Norway.

Trey Augustine and Seamus Casey, both who missed Team USA’s game against the Czech on Friday because of illness, are expected to be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game vs. Slovakia.

The U.S. and Slovakia have played 20 times previously in the World Juniors with Team USA winning 14 times against five losses and one tie. The teams have split the last four games in the series, with the Slovaks winning the most recent match-up in preliminary round play of last year’s World Juniors by a 6-3 count. The teams have met just twice on New Year’s Eve, with the U.S. earning a 9-3 win in the 2013 World Juniors and a 3-1 victory in the 2003 tournament.

Team USA Roster

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