The 2013 U.S. National Junior Team woke up this morning in Ufa, Russia, with its sights set on a matchup on Sunday against Canada at 4:30 a.m. ET.
The North American rivals have a long and storied history in international play and in particular have waged some classic battles on the ice at the IIHF World Junior Championship.
Team USA last defeated Canada at the World Juniors in 2010 when it won 6-5 in overtime to claim the gold medal. Overall, the U.S. is 5-1-3-26-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against Canada all-time in the tournament. The teams squared off last year in Alberta in the preliminary round where the U.S. fell 3-2.
In recent years, the two teams have been mostly neck and neck with three of the last seven meetings needing extra time, two ended in shootouts, and five of those games being decided by less than 2 goals.
U.S. Head coach Phil Housley said he expects a good game from both teams, noting that both teams are solid from goaltending to forwards.
"It won't take too much for the guys to get up for Canada," he told NHL.com "They're a good hockey club with good forwards, a solid defense and good goaltending."
Aside from the rivalry, both teams need points to ensure a spot in the tournament playoff round. Russia sits atop Group B with 8 points having earned wins over Team USA, Slovakia and Germany. Canada is in second with 6 points and the U.S. follows with 3.
Sunday's game will be broadcast on NHL Network-U.S. as well as webcast on NHL.com. USAHockey.com will have a live game blog and fans can find score updates on Twitter @USAHockeyScores.
Check back later today for more information on today's big game.
U.S. National Junior Team players took a team walk on Sunday morning on the streets of Ufa, Russia, outside the hotel. Although it looks like a midnight stroll, they were walking at 9 a.m. local time. Defenseman Connor Murphy talks about the experience in this video.