The United States advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2013 World Junior Championship with an 8-3 victory against Slovakia in a must-win game Monday, the final day of group play.
The Americans finished with two wins and six points in pool play, good for third place in Group B. If Slovakia had won Monday, it would have taken third place.
The Americans' opponent in the quarterfinal, however, remains up in the air.
Under the tournament format, the United States will play the second-place qualifier from Group A in a cross-over game.
Sweden and Finland are playing the final game in Group A on Monday to determine who that team will be. If the Swedes win in any fashion or lose after regulation, the United States will play the Czech Republic. If Finland wins in regulation, there will be a three-time logjam at the top of Group A and the IIHF's tie-breaking procedures will come into play.
If Finland reaches overtime -- win or lose -- it will finish third and knock the Swiss into the relegation round. A relegation loss sends the Finns to the relegation round and gives Switzerland a third-place position for the quarterfinals.
Because the three-point system used by the IIHF In the World Junior Championship does not allow a game to end in a tie, the following tie-breaking procedure is applicable when three or more teams are tied in points in the standings.
If more than two teams are tied, the tied teams are placed into a sub group and the following criteria are applied:
Step 1: Points awarded in the direct games amongst the tied teams from which the teams are then ranked accordingly.
Step 2: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points then the better goal difference in the direct games amongst the tied teams will be decisive.
Step 3: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points and goal difference then the highest number of goals scored by these teams in their direct games will be decisive
Additional tie-breakers would come into play if none of the first three criteria determine a winner.
The top two spots in Group B are also in flux. Russia and Canada play later Monday for group supremacy with the winner earning the bye and the loser forced to play the third-place finisher from Group A.
The quarterfinal round will be played Wednesday.