Saturday, January 05, 2013

Team USA beats Sweden, captures WJC Gold

Rocco Grimaldi scored the tying and winning goals, while torunament MVP John Gibson stopped 26-of-27 shots as Team USA recorded a 3-1 victory over Sweden to take the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa on Saturday morning.

Grimaldi tallied twice in a span of 2:46 in the middle portion of the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit to the defending champions, and Vince Trochek added an insurance score with 16 seconds remaining.

Gibson's save percentage over the seven games ended up being .955, a tournament record.

Filip Sandberg notched the lone goal for Tre Kronor, which had won the 2012 title in Canada. Niklas Lundstrom made 31 saves in defeat. The Swedes have not beaten the Americans since 1996, a 12-game losing skid.

The Americans took home their third title overall and second in the last four years. Since losing back-to-back 2-1 games to Russia and Canada in group play, Phil Housley's team went on a tear, winning its final four games by a combined score of 22-5.

"I couldn't be more proud of our players and staff," said Housley. "And I'm also really happy for hockey fans in our country. This was a total team effort throughout the tournament. It was a very difficult challenge tonight against an excellent Swedish team." 

Earlier on Saturday, host Russia picked up the Bronze medal with a 6-5 decision over Team Canada, last year's bronze winners. Valeri Nichushkin netted the overtime winner at the 1:35 mark, beating Malcolm Subban.

Nail Yakupov recorded two goals, while Alexander Khokhlachyov and Kirill Dyakov added scores in a three-goal opening period.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins totaled a goal and three assists, with Ryan Murphy adding a score and two helpers in defeat.

"We left everything we had on the table," Canada head coach Steve Spott said. "As hard as we worked today, fourth place isn't acceptable to our country, but we'll have to move on."

The Canadians failed to medal for the first time since 1998.

The sting of defeat was made a little bit worse with the knowledge that defenseman Griffin Reinhart was given a four-game suspension for his actions during Thursday's semifinal loss to the USA. He sat out Saturday's defeat and will need to serve the remainder of his penalty in further international action.

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