Team USA returns to the semifinals of the IIHF World Junior Championship for the first time since 2013 and will face Russia, a team it has never defeated in a medal-round game in the World Juniors (0-6). Russia has eliminated the U.S. from the World Juniors in the quarterfinals each of the last two years, including by a 3-2 count last year in Montreal. In that game, the U.S. outshot Russia, 41-25. Zach Werenski had a goal and Auston Matthews an assist. Russia scored twice on the power play, including once with a two-man advantage. Tonight’s game will be televised live in the U.S. on NHL Network.
SERIES VS. RUSSIA
The U.S. is 5-0-0-11 (W-OTW-OTL-L) all-time against Russia in the IIHF World Junior Championship. Russia has won the last four games between the two teams. The last U.S. win was a 3-2 preliminary round victory in 2007.
TEAM USA STATS THUS FAR
Auston Matthews leads all players in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in goals (7) and is tied for fourth in points (11) ... Alex Nedeljkovic leads all goaltenders in the tournament in both goals against average (1.15) and save percentage (.954) ... Zach Werenski is second in points (7) among all defensemen ... The U.S. has two shorthanded goals in the tournament, the most of any team ... Eighteen players have earned at least one point ... Three players have points in four of Team USA’s five games, including Matthews, Sonny
Milano and Matthew Tkachuk ... The line of Matthews (7-4-11), Tkachuk (2-6-8) and Colin White (3-4-7) has combined for 26 points or 40% of Team USA’s total of 65 points.
THINGS TO KNOW
The U.S. National Junior Team is 4-0-1-6 (W-OTW-OTL-L) all-time in semifinal games in the world junior championship ... The U.S. is 3-0 in games with an 8 p.m. start time in the 2016 World Juniors (Canada (4-2), Switzerland (10-1), Czech Republic (7-0)) ... U.S. Head Coach Ron Wilson on Russia, “They’re strong in all phases of the game. If we can establish an aggressive forecheck and make them adjust to our style of play, I like our chances.” ... Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk are the first U.S. players to notch at least eight points in a world junior championship since 2013 when Johnny Gaudreau (9), J.T. Miller (9), Jacob Trouba (9) and Alex Galchenyuk (8) each reached or surpassed the mark in seven games ... Zach Werenski’s seven points (2-5) are the most by a U.S. defensemen since Seth Jones (1-6-7) and Jacob Trouba (4-5-9) reached the mark in 2013.
ADDING TO HIS LEGACY
Head Coach Ron Wilson, who is leading Team USA for the eighth time in international competition, has now led a U.S. team to the semifinal round for the seventh time.
|1994||IIHF Men's World Championship||Fourth|
|1996||IIHF Men's Worlld Championship||Bronze|
|1996||World Cup of Hockey||First|
|1998||1998 Olympic Winter Games||Sixth|
|2004||World Cup of Hockey||Fourth|
|2009||IIHF Men's World Championship||Fourth|
|2010||2010 Olympic Winter Games||Silver|
Game notes and line charts still to come
|Date||Opponent||Location||Result||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Sat., Dec. 26||Canada||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-2||Colin White|
|Mon., Dec. 28||Sweden||Helsinki Ice Hall||L, 0-1||Zach Werenski|
|Wed., Dec. 30||Switzerland||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 10-1||Auston Matthews|
|Thu., Dec. 31||Denmark||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-1||Brandon Carlo|
|Sat., Jan. 2||Czech Republic
|Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 7-0||Nick Schmaltz|
|Mon., Jan. 4||Russia
|Hartwall Arena||L, 1-2||Christian Dvorak|
|Tues. , Jan. 5||Sweden
Bronze Medal Game
|Hartwall Arena||W, 8-3||Anders Bjork|