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World Juniors

United States, Sweden To Play For Gold

Panthers prospects have hand in helping teams advance through semifinals.

Thursday, 01.3.2013 / 1:30 PM ET / World Juniors
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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United States, Sweden To Play For Gold
World Juniors

Aiming For World Junior Gold

Mike Lewis - FloridaPanthers.com
The World Junior Championship is one of the biggest events in the world of hockey; a tournament where players under twenty years of age can represent their country and where the stars of tomorrow come out to shine.

FloridaPanthers.com WJC Site
Official IIHF Site

It will be a golden matchup that most did not predict.

That's because the majority of people heading into the day in Ufa had to believe it would be a Canada-Russia final with the two hockey power houses battling it out. But instead they will be relegated to fighting for bronze as the United States and Sweden will be playing in the World Junior Championship’s final game following dominating and drastic finishes in the set up games.

In the early game in Ufa, the United States looked to avenge a 2-1 loss on December 30th to their neighbors to the North. They did just that and then some, controlling play for all but a couple minutes of play as they scored the game’s first four goals on their way to a 5-1 victory. It was expected to be a great game as their meetings usually are but the way the Americans dominated play, it left many to wonder about the Canadians.

The second game was a much closer affair despite a hot start by the Swedes. They jumped out to a two-goal lead but allowed the hosts an opportunity to make it a great finish. After Russia tied it in the third period, the game would require a shootout in which Sweden would win 3-2 in the third and final round of the one-on-one sessions.

Panthers prospects played a big hand on the score sheet for the winning sides in each game. In the early game, Vincent Trocheck found linemate Rocco Grimaldi who made a nice pass to a trailing Jake McCabe and the US and Buffalo prospect fired it through a screen to take a two-goal advantage with 3:58 left in the opening period. That stood up as the game-winner. The second game saw prospect Rasmus Bengtsson find the score sheet for the first time in the tournament when he picked up the only assist on Washington prospect Filip Forsberg’s goal that gave the Swedes a two goal advantage.

Canada and Russia will hit the ice with bronze on the line starting at 4am EST on Saturday while the United States and Sweden will go for gold starting at 8am EST on Saturday. Both games can be seen on NHL Network.


Playing their sixth game in eight games one could have said that their legs might have been tired. But the adrenaline of playing their neighbors for a chance to move on and play for gold, fueled the United States early.


They were relentless from the drop of the opening puck and cashed in on a screened shot from McCabe just 7:18 into the game. The blueliner netted the eventual game-winner, his third of the tournament, to make it a two-goal advantage after one period of play.

Calgary pick John Gaudreau continued his hot play in the last couple of games, picking up his sixth goal (all over that span) on a pretty toe drag that ended with him picking the top corner over Malcolm Subban just 2:58 into the second. That came after back and forth end-to-end chances for both sides.

A turning point came with 3:39 gone in the period as Panthers pick Jonathan Huberdeau found Islanders pick Ryan Strome all alone with a pretty pass. Anaheim prospect John Gibson had other ideas. A rock in the back, like he has been all tournament, the netminder stoned the attempt to keep Canada off the board. It was just the start as Gibson foiled Canadian attack after attack throughout on his way to a 33 save night.

The Americans would chase Subban when Vesey worked his way around a defenseman and fired the puck off the post, far side.

Canada would finally find their skates and owned the beginning of the third, keeping the United States pinned in their own zone for large chunks of time. They were rewarded when Ty Rattie put in his own rebound after hitting the cross bar with 4:03 gone. The play went to review and actually showed that the ref had blown his whistle before the puck went in but the goal stood, cutting the United States lead to 4-1.

Any thoughts that the Canadians could make it a game again were dashed after Gaudreau netted his tournament leading seventh with 4:19 left to play.

Besides assisting on the GW, Trocheck was spectacular in the face-off circle, winning 73.68% of his draws (14-of-19) while finishing with two shots on net. Grimaldi finished with three shots on net while JR Panther Shayne Gostisbehere and Connor Murphy helped keep the Canadians off the board. On the flip side, it was definitely a game to forget for Huberdeau as he finished with a shot on net and was a minus-4.


For the second game in a row, Russia found a way to come back and force overtime and eventually a shootout to decide who moved on.


Unfortunately the semifinals weren’t like the quarterfinals (where Russia won 4-3 in the shootout over Switzerland) as it was Sweden who got the best of it in the one-on-one session for the 3-2 victory.

Sweden controlled play early on and with that held a two-goal cushion following the first period of play. The power play staked them to the first goal of the game as Elias Lindholm scored 6:35 in. The lead doubled three minutes later when Bengtsson set up Forsberg who made a nice individual effort before firing it top shelf, short side.

Trailing, the hosts would get one back about midway through the second (7:32 in) when Andrei Mironov scored off a Swedish defender that fooled Niklas Lundstrom. Then Russia’s hero against Switzerland, Mikhail Grigorenko, came to the rescue once again, tying the game at two, twenty minutes later (7:56 into the third). Panthers prospect Yaroslav Kosov picked up the secondary assist on the goal.

Despite chances on both sides (six sides each) in overtime, the game would head to the shootout. After the first two shooters from each side failed to beat the netminders, Montreal pick Sebastian Collberg fired home a shot past Tampa Bay pick Andrei Vasilevski. Lundstrom would make one final save on Nikita Kucherov to give the Swedes a chance to defend their gold medal.

Bentsson finished with the assist on three shots while Kosov ended his night with the assist on two shots and was a plus-1.




1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


J. Jagr 49 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 52 10 27 10 37
A. Barkov 42 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 52 10 25 12 35
V. Trocheck 52 17 16 4 33
R. Smith 52 16 15 11 31
B. Pirri 48 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 48 10 12 21 22
B. Campbell 52 4 16 17 20
N. Bjugstad 37 9 8 -3 17
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

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