Malmo, Sweden - International hockey tournaments, it's said, begin in the quarterfinals. Luckily for the U.S. National Junior Team, that addage is drilled in and reinforced on a roster packed with players who have worn the stars and stripes scores of times.
After a 3-2 loss to Canada to finish the group stage of this year's tournament, players and head coach Don Lucia made clear that they are not going to let the defeat to their rival derail their pursuit of a gold medal.
"The guys have been through the process," Lucia said. "We're dissapointed we didn't get the game to overtime and win the pool, but at the same time there are no easy games at this point in the tournament ... it's all about getting ourselves mentally and physically prepared to play in two days."
Team USA has 15 players with international experience at IIHF world championships and have seen their share of ups and downs in those tournaments.
"I think (experience) should help us going forward," said Jack Eichel, who at just 17 years old already has 11 games in the U.S. jersey at a world championship. "Now it's just sudden death, you have to win them all."
U.S. captain Riley Barber said the tournament begins with the next game, a quarterfinal clash with Russia on Thursday at 6 a.m. ET, but conceded that the loss still stings.
"It sucks to lose," he said before adding that the road to gold doesn't always go perfectly, alluding to the 2013 team that finished round robin 2-2. "We're not too worried about it, but we'll go back to the drawing board and maybe change some things."
It was Barber who gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal in the second period. Canada would respond with three consecutive goals, all scored inside the dots in vital scoring areas.
The key to rebounding in the quarterfinals and beyond is putting bodies in front of the net and scoring the "greasy" goals, players said.
"That blue paint is huge, in our zone and in the offensive zone we have to get there," said Tommy DiPauli.
Team USA has New Year's Day off before continuing its bid for a second consecutive gold medal. Watch Thursday's game live on NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com
HELSINKI, Finland - Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis./Univ. of Wisconsin) was named captain of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced today. Joining McCabe as alternate captains are Cole Bardreau (Fairport, N.Y./Cornell Univ.), Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Portland Winterhawks), J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio/Connecticut Whale) and Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./Univ. of Michigan).
The alternate captains will be split into two pairs, with Jones and Miller wearing an 'A' in one uniform color and Bardreau and Trouba doing do so in the other jersey color.
Trouba and Miller each played on the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team. For the current roster, click here.
The U.S. will look to earn its third medal in four years at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013. Team USA captured the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Sask., and the bronze medal at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y.
Team USA flies to Ufa, Russia, tonight. The first game for the U.S. at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship is Thursday, Dec. 27, vs. Germany. Game time is 8 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) with NHL Network (DirectTV 215, Dish 403) broadcasting live and NHL.com streaming live.
NOTES: Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba were the co-captains of the 2010-11 U.S. National Under-17 Team and the 2011-12 U.S. National Under-18 Team. Cole Bardreau and Jake McCabe were alternate captains on the 2009-10 U.S. National Under 17 Team. Bardreau was also wore an 'A' for the 2010-11 U.S. National Under-18 Team. The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams are part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program ... For the most thorough coverage of Team USA at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, click here ... The U.S. National Junior Team has concluded its pre-tournament training in Helsinki, Finland, where it played two pre-tournament games. The U.S. beat Sweden in overtime, 3-2, Dec. 20 and lost to vs. Finland, 5-1, on Dec. 22 ... NHL Network is broadcasting all Team USA games live and re-airing them in prime time each night. NHL.com is also streaming all games live ... The U.S. roster includes 10 first- or second-round NHL Entry Draft picks, including five first-rounders ... Thirteen states are represented among the current 24-man roster, stretching from California to Massachusetts, and Minnesota and Michigan to Texas and Florida ... Phil Housley (South St. Paul, Minn.), head boy's ice hockey coach at Stillwater (Minn.) High School, is the head coach of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team. He will be assisted by Mark Osiecki (Columbus, Ohio), head men's ice hockey coach at Ohio State University, Grant Potulny (Minneapolis, Minn.), assistant men's ice hockey coach at the University of Minnesota and David Lassonde (Denver, Colo.), assistant men's ice hockey coach at the University of Denver ... Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the fourth consecutive year. Tim Taylor (Guilford, Conn.) is the director of player personnel ... Use the hashtag #USAWJC to join the conversation on Twitter.