U.S. forfeits world junior game against Switzerland due to positive COVID-19 tests

The United States has been placed into quarantine at the world junior hockey championship. A mandated team quarantine began on Tuesday after two players tested positive for COVID-19.

Team placed in mandatory quarantine while Wednesday's game remains on schedule

Mackie Samoskevich of the U.S. team celebrates his goal against Slovakia with his teammates during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action in Red Deer, Alta., on Sunday. The Americans' Tuesday game was forfeited due to a pair of positive COVID-19 tests. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The defending champion United States forfeited Tuesday's game against Switzerland at the world junior men's hockey championship because two players tested positive for COVID-19.

The American team was placed in a mandated quarantine. The game was scheduled to be played Tuesday afternoon in Red Deer, Alta., which is co-hosting the 2022 men's under-20 tournament with Edmonton.

The game will be recorded as a 1-0 win for Switzerland by forfeit in accordance with the rules, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said in a statement.

"We're extremely disappointed, especially for our players," U.S. junior team general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said in a statement.

"We're operating in an ever-changing landscape and that's very challenging.

"We've followed the tournament protocol from the outset and will continue to do everything we can to ensure our players have the opportunity to compete at the world junior championship."

The U.S. team's quarantine status will be evaluated later to determine whether it can compete in its next preliminary round game against Sweden on Wednesday, the IIHF said.

The Americans opened Pool B in Red Deer with a 3-2 win over Slovakia. The U.S. defeated Canada 2-0 in the final of the 2021 junior tournament in Edmonton and the 2022 roster features six returning players from that team.

The IIHF cancelled six men's and women's tournaments in January, including the women's under-18 world championship a second straight year, because of concerns over COVID-19.

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Canada's Justin Sourdif suspended 1 game

Canadian forward Justin Sourdif was suspended one game Tuesday at the world junior men's hockey championship because of an illegal check.

Sourdif of Richmond, B.C., served the suspension Tuesday when Canada faced Austria in a Pool A game in Edmonton.

The Vancouver Giants forward drove his shoulder into the head of Czech defenceman Jiri Tichacek in the third period of Canada's 6-3 win over Czechia to open the tournament Sunday.

Sourdif was given a minor penalty for interference.

"The disciplinary panel determined that because Sourdif directed his left shoulder into the head of Tichacek when Tichacek was unable to anticipate impending contact, and because Sourdif's actions resulted in a forceful contact with Tichacek's head or neck area, Sourdif recklessly endangered Tichacek," the International Ice Hockey Federation said Tuesday in a statement

"The disciplinary panel is of the opinion that the check was delivered late, meaning Sourdif initiated contact well after Tichacek released the puck from his possession and therefore had sufficient time to alter his trajectory beforehand."

Sourdif can return to Canada's lineup for Wednesday's game against Germany.

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