Team USA leads Group B, clinches spot in WJC quarterfinals
Team USA celebrates a goal as a Czech Republic player skates away. USA won the game, 4-3 in overtime.
Team USA was in first place in Group B in the IIHF World Junior Championship after beating the host Czech Republic 4-3 in overtime on Monday and beating Russia 3-1 on Sunday.
The U.S. finishes the preliminary round with eight points (2-1-0-1) which means it can finish no worse than second. That clinches a spot in the quarterfinals.
Second-place Canada (six points and 2-0-0-1) also clinched a quarterfinal spot with a 4-1 win over Germany on Monday. The team faces the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
The quarterfinal round begins on Thursday.
Cole Caufield scored his first goal of the tournament, 3:14 into overtime on Monday to give the U.S. the win in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
"We knew this was going to be an intense game," United States center Jack Drury said on the IIHF website. "It was a great crowd in the host country, amazing atmosphere. We wanted to play the right way and knew if we did it would work out for us."
Shane Pinto, Arthur Kaliyev and Drury scored in regulation, and Spencer Knight made 26 saves.
In Sunday’s 3-1 win over Russia, Kaliyev had two goals and Nick Robertson also scored. Khaliyev’s first tally and Robertson’s first goal came six seconds apart in the second period to tie a tournament record for fastest two goals by a team.
Canada’s win over Germany on Monday came without center and Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno and left wing Alexis Lafreniere, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL draft.
Veleno was suspended for a head butt in Saturday’s 6-0 loss to Russia. Lafreniere injured his left knee against Russia. He could return later in the tournament.
Germany, captained by Detroit defense prospect Moritz Seider, plays Russia on Tuesday.
"We want to win the next game against Russia," Seider said. "We don't care about what other teams do. We have to recover quickly now and get our legs ready. We had too many turnovers today. Canada has a good team and took advantage of their chances."
The United States features two of the tournament’s top three-point producers.
Trevor Zegras leads the WJC with nine points – all assists – and Pinto is third with seven points (four goals and three assists).