ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Team USA wakes up this morning knowing that to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2016 IIHF Men's World Championship, it needs at least one point in its final preliminary round game here today against Slovakia. Opening faceoff is set for 12:15 p.m. (5:15 a.m. ET) and the game can be seen live on NBCSN in the United States and streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra.
Keith Kinkaid will get the call in goal for Team USA. The Farmingville, New York, native, who played for the NHL's New Jersey Devils in 2015-16, has played in two previous games of the world championship. In his most recent outing, Kinkaid stopped seven shots in a 5-1 victory over Hungary last Friday (May 13).
The U.S. begins play today in fourth place in Group B with nine points. Slovakia is next with six points. Three points are awarded for a win in regulation. If the game goes to overtime and/or a shootout, the winning team gets two points and the losing team one point. Therefore, the only path for Slovakia to earn the fourth and final quarterfinal spot in Group B is to win in regulation. In that scenario, the Slovaks and U.S. would finish the preliminary both with nine points, but Slovakia would win the head-to-head tiebreaker and advance.
With at least a point, Team USA will earn the opportunity to play the top seed from Group A in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Moscow. One of three teams (Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden) will finish in the top spot in Group A (see complete standings starting today below).
The U.S. and Slovakia have met nine previous times in the world championship with Team USA owning a 3-2-0-3-1 (w-otw-otl-l-t) advantage. Last year, the U.S. gained a 5-4 victory in overtime over Slovakia in preliminary round play with Jack Eichel scoring the game winner with :28 left in overtime.
|May 3||Finland (exhibition)||L, 2-3 OT|
|May 6||Canada||L, 1-5|
|May 7||Belarus||W, 6-3|
|May 9||Finland||L, 2-3|
|May 12||France||W, 4-0|
|May 13||Hungary||W, 5-1|
|May 15||Germany||L, 2-3|
|May 17||Slovakia||L, 2-3 OT|
|May 19||Czech Republic (quarterfinal)||W, 2-1 SO|
Bronze Medal Game