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Gameday: U.S. Battles Canada Outdoors At 2018 World Juniors

By, 12/29/17, 7:00AM EST


Game set for 3pm ET at New Era Field in first-ever outdoor game in IIHF world championship play

The U.S. National Junior Team faces Canada today in its third Group A preliminary round game of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. The game will take place outdoors at New Era Field, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, in what will be the first-ever outdoor game played at any top-level IIHF world championship.

The two teams met in last year's gold medal game, where the U.S. rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits to force overtime and a shootout where Troy Terry scored the lone goal and Tyler Parsons stopped all five Canadian shooters to secure the win.
    All-time, the two teams have met 45 times and while the U.S. trails the series 8-2-3-29-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T), it enters the game with a three-game win streak over Canada. Combined, the two teams have accounted for three of the last five World Junior Championship gold medals (U.S. in 2013, 2017; Canada in 2015).

Casey Mittelstadt leads the touranment in goals (3) ... The U.S. practiced at New Era Field on Dec. 27 from 2-3pm ET  and marked was the second time ever that Andrew Peeke skated outdoors ... 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.

For the game, the U.S. will wear a special jersey that utilizes large numbers on the front and back, similar to that of an NFL jersey. The main color of the jersey is the same blue utilized by the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

Through two games, multiple U.S. players sit among tournament leaders. Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./Univ. of Minnesota) leads the tournament in goals with three while Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Portland Winterhawks) is one of 11 players tied for second with two goals. Among all skaters, Mittelstadt’s three points is one shy of the tournament lead. Of the seven goaltenders to have played two games, Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College) ranks second in goals against average (1.51) and save percentage (.928).
    As a team, the U.S. leads the tournament in goals scored (11) while its goaltending ranks third in both save percentage (.928) and goals against average (1.51). The U.S. also leads special teams statistics, with a tournament-best 100% penalty kill and a power play that ranks fourth (28.57%). Team USA is also among the most disciplined with a tournament-low four penalties.

For the United States, several players have previous experience in playing a game outdoors through youth or high school hockey. A year ago, Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Portland Winterhawks), Patrick Harper (New Canaan, Conn./Boston Univ.), Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn./Boston Univ.) and Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College) all skated in Frozen Fenway 2017 the weekend after winning gold with the U.S. National Junior Team.
    In BU's outdoor game against the University of Massachusetts, Harper registered two assists, Bellows added an assist and Oettinger made 23 saves in a 5-3 win. That game was followed by Woll stopping 27 shots to lead the BC Eagles to a 3-1 victory over Providence College. Also part of that second game were two U.S. assistant coaches in BC's Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.) and Providence's Kris Mayotte (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

New Era Field is home to the NFL's Buffalo Bills and is poised to make hockey history for the second time in a decade. On January 1, 2008, what was then known as Ralph Wilson Stadium hosted the first-ever NHL Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins in front of a then-record 71,217 spectators. The success of that event set the stage for what is now an annual showcase at outdoor venues across North America for the NHL.

2018 World Juniors

U.S. Roster

Official Event Site

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

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