Chicago Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz and Team USA eye second place in Group A when they meet Denmark in the 2016 World Junior Championship on Thursday at Helsinki Ice Hall.
Sweden has already locked up the top seed, and regulation win by the Americans will net them second place. With Finland, who has scored at least six goals in all three of its games, expected to finish second in Group B not dropping this game is big for the U.S.
Schmaltz, the Blackhawks' 2014 first-round pick, scored his first goal of the tournament in the first period of Wednesday's 10-1 rout of Switzerland.
U.S. head coach Ron Wilson saw goals from across the lineup in the win with OHL-leading goal scorer Alex DeBrincat nursing a shoulder injury. Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkahuck each had two goals, while Schmaltz and four others each registered a tally.
Wilson even rested starter Alex Nedeljkovic before the midway point. Brandon Halverson stopped every shot he face in the final 32 minutes. He should start in this one. 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.
Official Lines from Wednesday:
Denmark - Record: 1-0-0-2 -- Standings: 4th in Group A -- Goal Differential: -9
Denmark's lone win came against Switzerland, a 2-1 victory. The three points earned the Danes another year away from relegation, but since then they haven't showed much.
The Danes have been out scored 11-1, including a 5-0 shutout at the hands of Sweden. Alexander True gave the Danes a 1-0 lead against Canada before the Canadians scored five unanswered goals.
M. Jensen-E. Christensen-Boysen
**Note: Lines will be updated when/if available.
How to Watch
When: 8 a.m. CT
Where: Helinski Ice Hall