Chicago Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz and Team USA continue Group A play against lowly-Switzerland in the 2016 World Junior Championship on Wednesday at Helsinki Ice Hall.
Schmaltz, the Blackhawks' 2014 first-round pick, is still searching to find his way on the scoresheet. He posted one assist in five tournament games in the 2015 tournament.
The Americans will have to improve their special teams play against Switzerland. In Monday's game, the U.S. went 0-for-8 on the man-advantage, and even squandered a 5-on-3.
Alex DeBrincat might also not be back yet after suffering a shoulder injury against Sweden. DeBrincat, who was ejected from Canada for spearing, left the ice with 12.6 seconds in the first after being driven head-first into the boards by Swedish defenseman Ollas Mattsson. He suffered a bloody-gash on his forehead, but apparently has a shoulder injury. He has not skated in the second or third period this tournament.
Auston Matthews had a goal and assist against Canada, while Zach Werenski, Matthew Tkachuk and Colin White each had two points. Additional scoring from other top players like Sonny Milano and Schmaltz will help the Americans offense.
Carolina prospect Alex Nedelijkovic has proven he's the right choice in net. He's stopped 47 of 50 shots so far this tournament, including a 23-save performance against Sweden. The Americans could turn to Brandon Halverson, who was projected to be the starter when the tournament began. With back-to-back games to close out the preliminary round, Halverson should get one of the starts. The Rangers' 2014 second-round pick is 9-10-1 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .895 save percentage for the Set. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL this season.
Team USA will look to repeat the 2004 team's feat, winning WJC gold in Helsinki. Team USA has medaled in three of the last six WJCs, winning bronze in 2011 and gold in 2010 and 2013.
Switzerland - Record: 0-0-1-2 -- Standings: 5th in Group A -- Goal Differential: -7
Switzerland enters the contest after blowing a two-goal lead against Canada and falling to the defending champions, 3-2 in a shootout. The Swiss must get three points to avoid the regulation round.
Timo Meier is the biggest disappointment for the Swiss team. The Sharks' ninth overall pick in last summer's draft averages more than a point per game with the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads, but remains scoreless in the tournament. He was held without a shot against Canada.
**Note: Lines will be updated when available.
How to Watch
When: Noon CT
Where: Helinski Ice Hall