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Game Day: USA vs. Switzerland (Preliminary Round)

By USA Hockey, 04/17/14, 5:00AM EDT


Today's Contest

The U.S. National Under-18 Team will face Switzerland in the opening game of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship this afternoon in preliminary round action. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT in Lappeenranta, Finland.

"We're confident coming into this tournament just having finished a couple of strong months in the USHL and in Russia (at the 2014 Five Nations Tournament)," said U18 defenseman Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.). "We know that we have to execute and focus on the details versus Switzerland, and if we do that we'll be successful."

This is the first preliminary-round contest for both teams. Team USA previously played Germany in a pre-tournament game on Monday (April 14) defeating Germany, 9-1. The game was held in Vierumaki, Finland, site of Team USA's training camp. Switzerland also was in action Monday.

"We're all really excited to officially get started," said U18 forward Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.). "I feel like the two years of preparation (at the National Team Development Program) will really put us a step ahead of our competition. It's important to start strong."

Last year, Switzerland finished sixth at the U18 World Championship. The Swiss finished with a record of 2-0-0-3, falling to Finland in the quarterfinals on April 25, 2013. Switzerland scored 12 goals and gave up 24.

Three other games are being held today. Following the U.S. tilt with Switzerland, Finland takes on Denmark in Lappeenranta. In Imatra, Slovakia and Russia do battle before Sweden clashes with Canada. The Czech Republic and Germany are idle.

Match-Up History

Team USA holds a 6-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) all-time record versus Switzerland in the tournament. The U.S. has outscored the Swiss 29-7 in those meetings.

Team USA most recently defeated the Swiss, 2-1, on April 14, 2011, in Crimmitschau, Germany. In that meeting, New Jersey Devils prospect Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge, Mich.) scored the game-winning goal in the third period. Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) turned aside 30 saves in the victory, while New York Rangers prospect Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) added Team USA's first goal.

News and Notes

  • Today's contest between the United States and Switzerland is the first game scheduled in the 2014 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship.
  • Switzerland features five players recently named on NHL Central Scouting's list of top draft-eligible players for 2014. Forward Kevin Fiala came in at third among European skaters, followed by Noah Rod (27th), Simon Kindschi (93rd) and Andy Ritz (134th). Defenseman Edson Harlacher, who plays for the Kamloops Blazers, was ranked 196 on the North American skaters list.
  • The average height of Team Switzerland is 5-11, while the average weight is 176 pounds.
  • Six of the 15 players named to the 2014 U.S. Men's National Team have played for the U.S. National Under-18 Team at the U18 World Championship. Among those named were forwards Drew Shore (Denver, Colo./2009), Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn./2005) and Jimmy Hayes (Dorchester, Mass./2007), along with defensemen Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/2011-12), Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis./2011) and Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./2011-12). All six players also skated for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with the #U18Worlds tag.
  • For additional coverage, visit the NTDP Facebook page and follow @USANTDP on Twitter.

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