Photo: Kitchener Rangers forward and Edmonton Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder has represented his country of Germany very well at four U-20 WJC events(courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
With their 5-2 win over Latvia, Team Germany accomplished their main goal of avoiding relegation at the 2013 World Junior Championship. The win allows the Germans to compete in the top WJC grouping again next year when the tournament is held in Sweden.
Photo: Kitchener Rangers goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson has been especially sharp in the nets for Team USA at the 2013 World Juniros (courtesy of Josh Holmberg /Icon SMI)
While there isn't just one element that contributes to a gold medal win at the World Junior Championship, one thing that is almost always needed to complete the feat is strong goaltending. And right now at the 2013 edition of this tournament, it appears that Team USA has that element locked up heading into the gold medal game.
Photo: Sarnia Sting defenseman and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy has been a solid defensive presence for Team USA at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
After dropping a couple of tight, low-scoring encounters to rivals Russia and Canada, Team USA appears to have gotten their offense in gear the past couple of games. The USA has scored 16 times in those two games, against Slovakia and the Czech Republic, while giving up just three goals.
Photo: Highly-rated 2013 prospect Aleksander Barkov of Finland has roots in the country that is hosting the 2013 World Junior Championship, Russia (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Team Sweden is sporting the best power-play, coming in at 35.71%, while the USA tops penalty killing units at 88.24%. Interestingly enough, no team has been on the power-play more than Sweden and only Russia has been shorthanded less than the USA.
Photo: Sarnia Sting captain and Montreal Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk has had a good offensive showing at the 2013 World Juniors (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Team USA entered their New Year's Eve showdown with Slovakia knowing that they had to win to keep their medal hopes alive. And win they did, posting a 9-3 victory over the Slovaks to ensure that the USA lives to fight another day.