U.S. Rolls Over Sweden to Reach Gold Medal Game
CHN Staff Report
SASKATOON, Sask. Rensselaer's Jerry D'Amigo scored twice including a third-period shorthanded goal, as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Sweden, 5-2, in the semifinals of the World Junior Championship. The U.S. (5-0-1-0) will face Canada in the gold-medal game Tuesday at 7 p.m. (CT).
"We've gotten better every game of the tournament," said Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We worked really hard tonight, and we put ourselves right in the position we wanted to be."
Team USA scored the lone goal of the first period less than two minutes into the game. Notre Dame's Kyle Palmieri fed Tyler Johnson in the slot, who sent a shot high past Sweden goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Sweden took a 2-1 lead in the second period thanks to a pair of goals by Anton Lander. But D'Amigo tied the game with five minutes remaining in the frame by chipping the puck off the boards to himself in the neutral zone, racing towards the net and beating Markstrom between the pads.
Team USA regained the lead 12 minutes into the third when John Carlson's long slap shot trickled past Markstrom and over the goal line. Then, while killing a penalty, the U.S. and D'Amigo struck again. Team USA's Player of the Game took a pass from captain Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) on a two-on-one break and sent a wrist shot over Markstrom's shoulder.
A.J. Jenks tallied a last-minute empty-net goal to put the game out of reach. St. Cloud State freshman Mike Lee, who was the first goalie in the tournament for Team USA to start back-to-back games, earned his fourth victory of the tournament, stopping 27 shots.
Team USA's gold-medal game against Canada can be seen live in the U.S. on the NHL Network. It will also be streamed live in the U.S. on FASTHockey.com.
NOTES: The U.S. is returning to the gold-medal game of the World Junior Championship for the third time. Team USA is 1-0-0-1 in previous gold-medal games. The U.S. won its lone gold medal against Canada in 2004. ... Team USA is only the third team ever to emerge from the quarterfinal round to appear in the World Junior Championship gold-medal game. ... Derek Stepan leads all skaters with nine assists and 12 points. ... Canada defeated Switzerland, 6-1, in the other semifinal game.