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Gameday: U.S. Closes 2019 World Jr Prelims Against Finland

By, 12/31/18, 11:15AM MST


New Year's Eve tilt set for 10:30 p.m. ET puck drop

The U.S. National Junior Team (2-0-1-0) meets Finland (2-0-0-1) tonight to close preliminary round action here at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Victoria, British Columbia. Tonight's game, which will be televised live on NHL Network, is set for 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET).

All-time, Team USA is 12-3-0-16-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against Finland in tournament play. The two teams are meeting on New Year's Eve for the second-straight IIHF World Junior Championship after a 5-4 U.S. win last year. A year ago, Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) scored twice and Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y.) netted the game-winning goal with 1:37 remaining to secure the win.

The final day of preliminary round action at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship arrives with a multitude of possible quarterfinal matchups. As it currently stands, the breakdown is as follows:

CAN (1A) vs. SVK (4B)
RUS (2A) vs. FIN (3B)
SWE (1B) vs. CZE (4A)
USA (2B) vs. SUI (3A)

In Group A, Canada and Russia will face off in a game that will determine the group's first seed while the Czech Republic-Denmark matchup carries a number of implications, the most notable of which is that the game's loser will fall to the Relegation Round. The Czechs need a win in any fashion to move ahead of Switzerland into third place, while an overtime loss will see them through to the quarterfinals as the fourth seed. The Danes need a regulation win to reach the quarterfinals as the fourth overall seed.

The Group B scenarios are a bit more defined, particularly should Sweden defeat Kazakhstan as a win will see them through to the quarterfinal as the top seed. That would make tonight's game between the U.S. and Finland one that, for the second straight year, determines second and third seeds of the group. Currently, the U.S. holds second place with seven points and Finland is third with six points while last night's 11-2 victory over Kazakhstan gives Slovakia three points for the fourth and final Group B quarterfinal berth.

On Dec. 29, the U.S. scored four unanswered goals - including a natural hat trick by Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University) - over the last 10:26 of regulation to force overtime, but was unable to complete the comeback as it fell to Sweden 5-4, in overtime. Poehling, who also assisted on Team USA's first goal, was tabbed the U.S. Player of the Game. For the complete recap, click here.

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