Now that the United States and Canada have played two preliminary-round games in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, here's a brief primer on what it all means.
The function of the preliminary round for each country is to establish seeding in each of the five-team groups, A and B. After a four-game schedule, the three teams with the most points at the end of Group play advance to the medal round at Ufa Arena beginning Jan. 2.
The first-place team earns an automatic bye into the semifinals, and the second- and third-place teams will play a crossover quarterfinal-round match with the winners advancing to the semis. The loser will play a placement game. The survivor of the semifinal round moves on to the gold-medal game, while the loser competes for bronze.
What does this setup mean for Canada and the United States?