The U.S. National Under-18 Team faces Denmark in its third preliminary round game at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship. Game time is slated for 11:30 a.m. EDT at Lappeenranta Arena in Finland.
This will be the third contest for both teams in the tournament. Team USA most recently blanked the Czech Republic, 3-0, yesterday (April 19) behind the play of netminder Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio.). The netminder made 24 saves and the U.S. got scoring from Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Milano and Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.). Previous to the victory over the Czechs, the Americans lost a close battle to Switzerland, 4-2, on Wednesday (April 17). Denmark has dropped both its game to date, 6-1 to Finland on Thursday and 9-2 to the Czech Republic on Friday.
"Our goal is to improve and get better each and every game of the tournament," said U18 forward Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.). "Against Denmark, we need to continue to push the pace. We're one of the best-skating and well-conditioned teams here and when we're clicking we're hard to play against."
Denmark did not compete in last year's U18 World Championship, having been demoted after finishing 10th in 2012 in the Czech Republic. In the 2013 Division I, Group A tournament held in Asiago, Italy, Denmark went 4-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) to claim first place and a spot in the top group in 2014. The Danes outscored their opponents, 22-6, beating out Norway by two points in the standings.
In the only other game on Sunday, Canada squares off against Slovakia in Imatra.
This will be the 3rd meeting between the two countries in the IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship. Team USA is 2-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) all-time versus Denmark in this tournament. The U.S. has outscored the Danes, 9-2, in the series.
The U.S. most recently won against the Denmark in preliminary round play at the 2012 U18 World Championship in the Czech Republic. Jared Rutledge (Chicago, Ill.) stopped all 17 shots he faced as the U.S. blanked Denmark, 4-0. Matthew Lane (Rochester, N.Y./1-1) and J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./0-2) had two points each and Seth Jones (Plano, Texas), Quentin Shore (Denver, Colo.) and Frankie Vatrano (East Longmeadow, Mass.) added single tallies.
In the only other meeting in 2004, Team USA and Denmark went into the third period tied 2-2. Three unanswered tallies by the U.S. gave the Americans a 5-2 victory in Minsk, Belarus. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis.) and Buffalo Sabres forward Kevin Porter (Detroit, Mich.) scored one goal and added two assists each in the win. New Jersey Devils netminder Cory Schneider (Marblehead, Mass.) made nine saves.