The future of American hockey has been on full display up in Buffalo, NY at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.
The defending world champions are on the cusp of making the championship game for a second-straight year, which would be the first time in the competition’s history that the Stars & Stripes would make consecutive finals appearances.
Last season saw one of the most thrilling championship games the tournament has ever seen as the USA came from behind against Canada in Canada to win their third-ever gold medal in a shootout.
The US came from behind against Canada again this season, this time during the group stage in an enthralling outdoor game at New Era Field, home of the Buffalo Bills. Once again, a shootout was needed as the Americans erased a 3-1 third-period deficit.
The Americans have been paced by New York Islanders prospect Keiffer Bellows and Buffalo Sabres product Casey Mittelstadt. Bellows is tied for the tournament lead with five goals (American Joey Anderson also has five tallies) while Mittelstadt leads all skaters with 10 points.
After skating past Russia in the quarterfinals behind Bellows and goaltender Joseph Woll, the United States will meet Sweden and a roster stacked with promising NHL talent in the semifinals.
Lias Andersson (New York Rangers prospect) and Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks prospect) have five goals apiece during the tournament while defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is the top prospect of the 2018 NHL draft class.
The impressive 6-foot-2 17-year-old is tied for the tournament lead with six assists and tied for second with a plus-8 rating.
With such promising talent set to be put on display, here is how you can catch the semifinal:
USA vs. Sweden: IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship semifinals
Date: Thursday, Jan. 4
Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: NHL Network
Live Stream: Reddit World Juniors live streaming