Darien's Spencer Knight, US hockey advance to quarterfinals of World Juniors

After a rough opening game, Darien’s Spencer Knight and Team USA are soaring into the quarterfinals as one of the top seeds in the World Junior Championship ice hockey tournament in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The Americans nailed down first place in the Group B standings with a 4-0 victory over Sweden on New Year’s Eve.

Knight, who made 27 saves against Sweden, became the first American goalie to post back-to-back shutouts in the tournament. He had 22 stops in a 7-0 win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Team USA will take on Slovakia in the quarterfinals at 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 2. Slovakia was fourth in Group A with one win, two losses and an overtime loss.

The past two games have been a big bounce-back for Knight, who allowed four goals on 12 shots before being removed for Dustin Wolf during a 5-3 loss to Russia on Christmas day.

Wolf started game two against Austria, with Team USA rolling to an 11-0 win and starting a run of three consecutive shutouts.

In three games, Knight, a sophomore at Boston College, has made 57 saves against 61 shots for a .934 save percentage.

With a win on Saturday, Team USA would advance to the World Juniors semifinals on Monday, Jan. 4. The consolation and championship games ar scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 5.

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports