U.S. defeats Sweden to win bronze at World Junior Championship

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Chaz Lucius (Winnipeg Jets) scored his third goal at 2:06 of overtime to make it 2023 on Thursday. The USA defeated Sweden 8-7 in the bronze medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship.

Swedish goalie Carl Lindbom (Vegas Golden Knights) stopped Lane Hutson’s (Montreal Canadiens) shot, but Lucius flew to the net and scored on the rebound.

“Hutty got the puck and came and hit it and it kind of hit the goalie square and hit the post,” Lucius said. “Luckily I was there, I kind of grabbed it, and their player came from my left and quickly pulled up and shot me in the back.

Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia Flyers) had two goals, while Ryan Ufko (Nashville Predators) and Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes) each had a goal and an assist for the USA team. Kaidan Mbereko (2023 draft eligible) had 14 tackles and 16 shots in place of Trey. Augustine (2023 draft eligible) to start the third period. Augustine scored five goals on 20 shots.

“We’re not here to medal, but you’ve got to get a medal,” U.S. coach Rand Pecknold said.

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To motivate his players after Wednesday’s 6-2 semifinal loss to Canada, Pecknold recounted a message he received from Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour.

“You open your phone after last night’s game and you get a million texts,” Pecknold said. “I first got it from Rod Brind’Amour and he told me a story about 1998. (Nagano) Olympic Games. [Canada] lost in the series (2-1 to the Czech Republic in the semifinals), and still he regrets the no. 1… that they didn’t play hard in the bronze medal match and lost (3-2 to Finland), they finished fourth.”

Filip Bystedt (San Jose Sharks) had two goals and an assist and Leo Carlsson (Rookie 2023) had a goal and an assist for Sweden, who won bronze at 2022 in August. in the WJC tournament. Lindbom made 28 saves.

“They have a good team, a lot of skilled players,” Sweden coach Magnus Havelid said. “I think we have a good team as well. Wide open hockey, it ends 7-7 before overtime… I’m happy for my team because I think we’ll never give up. We really want to have a bronze medal. but unfortunately we don’t.”

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Cooley gave the USA a 1-0 lead 2:51 into the first period. Jimmy Snuggerud (St. Louis Blues) knocked Swedish defenseman Victor Sjoholm (2023 rookie) off the puck behind the Swedish net and passed it to Cooley, who scored a one-timer.

Ufko made it 2-0 at 1:51 of the second period.

Bystedt made it 2-1 at 3:33, but Lucius scored at 5:04 to give the USA a 3-1 lead.

Oskar Pettersson (Ottawa Senators) made it 3-2 at 6:35 and Carlsson tied it at 3-3 at 8:52 on a Ufko attack.

Gauthier’s goal put the USA ahead 4-3 at 10:42 and Lucius’s 13:37 made it 5-3.

Sweden took a 5-4 lead at 18:52 on a goal by Milton Oscarsson (eligible for the 2023 draft), and Liam Ohgren (Minnesota Wild) tied the score at 5-5 at 19:18 with an empty-net goal. Augustine’s gift.

Noah Ostlund (Buffalo Sabres) gave Sweden a 6-5 lead at the 4:00 mark of the third period, but Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils) tied the game at 6-6 at the 8:17 mark. Hughes tried to spin around Swedish defenseman Adam Engstrom (Montreal Canadiens) but was knocked down. Without losing the puck, Hughes flicked it past Lindbom’s knees.

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“When we came out of the locker room (Wednesday), we said we have to win a medal tomorrow,” USA captain Hughes said. “It’s really important for USA Hockey, it’s really important for us as a team. I think we all came together and focused on playing 60 minutes and leaving everything out there.”

Gauthier scored on a loose puck at the power play crease with 18:23 left to put the USA up 7-6, but after Lindbom pulled the extra forward, Bystedt scored on a layup by Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabres). 19:38 to force overtime.

Havelid said he believed the goal changed Sweden’s momentum.

“As a coach, you really hope the hockey gods are on your side,” he said. – But not this time.

The bronze comes after the U.S. finished fifth at the 2022 Olympics in August. in the WJC tournament.

“It’s been a great group of guys and an amazing experience for me to be able to coach these guys and get this opportunity from USA Hockey,” Pecknold said.


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