World Juniors 2016: USA vs. Czech Republic preview, TV schedule, lineups, game thread

Team USA has outscored the Czechs 12-1 in their previous two meetings.

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz and Team USA look to advance to the medal round for the first time in three years when they meet Czech Republic in the 2016 World Junior Championship on Saturday at Helsinki Ice Hall.

The United States have fell in the quarterfinals the past two years to Russia. This decade, the U.S. have reached the podium three times, including gold in 2010 and 2013.

The U.S. have the Czechs number, outscoring them a combined 12-1 in their previous two meetings. The Americans have been solid in goal so far in the tournament with Alex Nedeljkovic and backup Brandon Halverson allowing just five goals in four preliminary round games.

Auston Matthews leads the Americans with eight points, including four goals which tie him with Finland's Patrik Laine. Matthews has registered a point in every game except for the 1-0 loss to unbeaten Sweden. His line mates, Colin White and Matthew Tkachuk have also found the back of the net. White and Tkachuk both have seven points, which ties them for sixth in the tournament.

Nick 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.

Alex DeBrincat will dress for the game. The OHL leading goal-scorer was ejected from the team's first game then was knocked out of its second. He'll be the 13th forward.






Opponent Breakdown

Czech Republic - Record: 2-0-1-1 -- Standings: 3rd in Group B -- Goal Differential: 0

The Czechs have not made the semifinals since 2005 when they won bronze. They'll turn to Michael Spacek and David Pastrnak for offense. Spacek has five points in four games, while Pastrnak has four point in three games.

Jiri Smejkal also has four points with two goals and two assists. Dominik Lakatos and Spacek are the only Czech players to have scored twice.

Vitek Vanecek played in net for all four preliminary games. The Capitals prospect has posted a 2.46 goals-against average and 89.01 save percentage in those games. He has allowed at least three goals in his past two games after stopping 39 of 40 shots in his first two games.

**Note: Lines will be updated when/if available.

How to Watch

When: Noon CT

Where: Helinski Ice Hall

TV: NHL-Network