Well, this sure is a great change of pace. Get it together NHL.
Team USA came away with their third gold medal, and second since 2010 at the IIHF World Junior Championships with a hard fought 3-1 win over Team Sweden. With combined breakout efforts for Rocco Grimaldi, and John Gibson, USA was able to come away with the very well earned victory.
After a very nerve-filled first period, neither team was able to convert on their chances and we headed into the intermission with a 0-0 deadlock. Those nerves quickly cleared as soon as the puck dropped for the second period, but it was the United States who fell behind early on. A late first period interference penalty on Cole Bardreau, the Swede's were able to capitalize on a bad bounce in front of Team USA's net. Flilip Sandberg was the recipient of the goal as he went top shelf, over the shoulder of John Gibson to give Sweden the early one goal lead.
After a failed power play, and a huge penalty kill, Rocco Grimaldi knotted things up at 1-1 with a nifty turnaround shot from the goal line. The shot fooled Niklas Lundstrom and slipped between his blocker and the post. Just three minutes later, Grimaldi came away with his second goal of the evening after a Jacob Trouba point shot deflected off of his glove, and beat Lundstrom once again. Grimaldi picked a great time to come back from his slump, after being benched earlier in the tournament by Phil Housley.
Sweden began to pick up the pressure at the end of the second period, and carried it over to the start of the third. However, there was a man named John Gibson at the other end of the ice who wouldn't have any of it. Gibson stood tall in the final 40 minutes for his team, and was the main reason USA came away with this gold medal. Yes, he was THAT good.
Grimaldi took a very unwarranted penalty with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, and the American's were faced with their biggest penalty kill of the tournament. They were able to get the job done, and got a shot of adrenaline following the kill. In the closing minutes, USA was able to get pucks deep in the offensive zone, and hound the Swede's.
Vince Trocheck sealed the deal with an empty net goal and the USA was on the way to their second gold medal since 2010. J.T. Miller played a sold game for the red, white, and blue, coming away with the lone assist on the game clinching goal. He was solid along the boards as usual, and created a great odd-man rush in the second period.