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Gameday: U.S. Faces Slovakia in Second Game of 2018 World Juniors

By, 12/28/17, 7:15AM EST


Puck dop slated for 8pm ET in Buffalo; Tickets on sale and game will be televised on NHL Network

The U.S. National Junior Team faces Slovakia tonight in its second Group A preliminary round game of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship here in Buffalo, New York. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. ET and tickets are still on sale here. The game, and all other U.S. tournament games, will be televised live on NHL Network.

All-time, the U.S. is 12-0-0-3-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against Slovakia in tournament play. This is the fourth meeting in five years between the two teams. A year ago, Tanner Laczynski, Colin White, Tage Thompson, Charlie McAvoy and Troy Terry each scored in a 5-2 preliminary round win that included an 18-save performance by Joseph Woll. 
    The U.S. enter the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship as hosts and defending gold medalists while Slovakia is seeking its first medal since a bronze medal-finish at the 2015 event. Since then, the Slovaks have finished seventh (2016) and eighth (2017).

Yesterday, the U.S. practiced at New Era Field from 2-3pm ET ... Team USA’s 9-0 win was its fourth-ever shutout win to start a world junior championship and tied for largest U.S. tournament-opening win (Norway, 2006, 11-2) ... Tournament tickets are still available at ... USA Hockey is holding a Level 4 CEP clinic Dec. 30-31 at Erie Community College in Williamsville, N.Y., for individuals to obtain Level 4 coaching certification. 165 coaches and 15 presents will take part ... The U.S. Olympic Men's, Women's and Paralympic Team rosters will be named Jan. 1, 2018, at the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (Buffalo Sabres vs. N.Y. Rangers) at Citi Field in New York City.

     Friday, December 29

     vs. Canada 3 pm ET
     New Era Field

     Saturday, December 30
Practice 1:30-2:30pm ET
     HarborCenter 2

Yesterday, Team USA practiced at New Era Field, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, for the first time in preparation of its outdoor game against Canada on Friday, Dec. 29. Just two weeks removed from the Bills' snow-covered 13-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts, Team USA's practice took place from 2-3pm ET and marked the second-time ever that defenseman and Parkland, Florida, native Andrew Peeke (University of Notre Dame) skated outdoors. For a behind-the-scenes GoPro video of Peeke and forward Logan Brown (St. Louis, Mo./Windsor Spitfires), visit
    "It's going to be different, and that's something we're going to embrace," said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team. "Getting a skate in was great for the guys to be able to get a feel for the environment. Now, we can focus on the task at hand and that is to win another tournament game."

With a win last night, the United States has set a new record for most consecutive U.S. wins in World Junior Championship play at nine straight victories. Since a 2-1 semifinal setback to Russia at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, the United States has reeled off nine straight wins in tournament play, besting its previous record of eight-straight wins set by the 2004 and 2005 U.S. National Junior Teams. 
    This current nine-game win streak includes a pair of medal-game wins, including bronze in 2016 and gold last year. Other notable moments in the win streak is Team USA's first-ever playoff round victory over Russia (4-3 semifinal SOW) and a thrilling come-from-behind 5-4 gold medal-game victory over Canada. Last year's two victories over Russia and Canada each  marked the first time a team defeated two teams twice en route to claiming a gold medal. During that span, the U.S. has outscored opponents, 46-18.

Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn.) and Casey Mittelsatdt (Eden Prairie, Minn.) eachs scored twice, Joseph Woll (St. Louis.) made 17 saves and 15 total U.S. players tallied at least one point for Team USA's record ninth-straight win in World Junior Championship play.

2018 World Juniors

U.S. Roster

Official Event Site

Daily Team Notebook

U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Location Result U.S. Player of Game
Wed., Dec. 20 Belarus
Pre-Tournament Game
Northwest Arena
Jamestown, N.Y.
W, 14-0 NA
Fri., Dec. 22 Sweden
Pre-Tournament Game
Erie Insurance Arena
Erie, Pa.
W, 3-1 NA
Tues., Dec. 26 Denmark
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 9-0 Casey Mittelstadt
Thurs., Dec. 28 Slovakia
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
L, 2-3 Brady Tkachuk
Fri., Dec. 29 Canada
Preliminary Round
New Era Field*
Orchard Park, N.Y.
W (SO) 4-3 Casey Mittelstadt
Sun., Dec. 31 Finland
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 5-4 Joey Anderson
Tues., Jan. 2 Russia
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 4-2 Kieffer Bellows
Thurs., Jan. 4 Sweden
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
L, 2-4 Josh Norris
Fri., Jan. 5 Czech Republic
Bronze-Medal Game
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 9-3 Trent Frederic

World Juniors News