Sweden forward Lias Andersson (24) and defenseman Timothy Liljegren (7) celebrate a goal against the United States during the third period of a semifinal in the IIHF world junior hockey championships Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Steen, Jonsson Fjallby score short-handed goals to lead Sweden past U.S. 4-2.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Oskar Steen and Axel Jonsson Fjallby helped put Sweden in position for its first world junior hockey gold medal in six years.

Steen and Jonsson Fjallby scored short-handed goals in the third period as Sweden earned a 4-2 semifinal win over the United States on Thursday. That moved the Swedes closer to their first gold medal since 2012.

Sweden has been a dominant force in this tournament since ‘07, having amassed a 44-0 preliminary round record. But over that span the Swedes have just the one gold medal to show for it.

On Friday, Sweden will face either Canada or the Czech Republic in the tournament final.

“First round is one thing, then playoffs is another,” said Swedish head coach Tomas Monten. “You play a lot better teams, you’ve just got to get an edge.

“We got that today and I think we grew in the game. We stuck with it and that’s why we’re in the final.”

Elias Petterson and Lias Andersson had the other goals for Sweden while goaltender Filip Gustavsson made 29 saves.

Kieffer Bellows and Brady Tkachuk scored for the U.S. to cut into a 4-0 deficit in the third. Joseph Woll stopped 16 shots before being replaced by Jake Oettinger after allowing Sweden’s final goal.

The Americans, who won gold last year in Montreal, will play the loser of the Canada-Czech Republic semifinal for the bronze medal. The U.S. was attempting to become the first country to win consecutive gold medals since Canada won five straight from 2005-09.

“We got going, we got on a roll, the injuries didn’t make a big impact on our team,” said American coach Bob Motzko. “We had two players down and we stuck (Logan) Brown back in there late.

“Some of those things are tough to overcome and I’m not saying that for an excuse. I’m not a huge study of this tournament year after year but when you’re fighting for the 12 days or the 22 days we’ve been going at it, certain things can back you off. We’re so disappointed right now. We were on the bench going ‘This is not us. What’s going on?’ You wanted to clap your hands and get it to change.”

Sweden came into Thursday’s contest having won just four of its past 10 semifinal games and hasn’t won a medal in this event since earning silver in 2014.

“I’ve been looking forward to this a long time now,” said Swedish forward Alex Nylander. “It’s my third year here, I haven’t won a medal yet and this year we’re going for gold.

“We’ve just got to work hard and play the way we played (Thursday).”

Sweden surged to a 4-0 lead in the third with three goals before the midway mark of the period.

Andersson put Sweden ahead 2-0 at 6:17, finishing off a nice give-and-go play with Fredrik Karlstrom for his sixth goal of the tournament. Then came two short-handed goals 38 seconds apart.

Steen made it 3-0 at 7:47, shooting on a 2-on-1 rush with Nylander and beating Woll high to the blocker side. Jonsson Fjallby then picked up a loose puck and beat Woll high on his glove side to end the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect’s night.

The two goals were just two seconds shy of the tournament record for the fastest two short-handed goals.

“They did a good job of pressuring us on the power play,” Bellows said of the short-handed goals. “They’re a really good team and they came out hard and they played really well.

“Credit to Sweden, they’re a really good team.”

Bellows ended Gustavsson’s shutout bid with 7:36 remaining. Bellows came out from the corner to the front of the net and beat the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect for his seventh tournament goal.

Tkachuk pulled the U.S. to within 4-2 with 3:01 remaining, firing a loose puck past Gustavsson. The Americans had a glorious chance to further cut the deficit by going on the power play with 2:02 remaining but couldn’t convert.

Pettersson opened the scoring on the power play with his fifth goal of the tournament at 13:30 of the second.

NOTES: Thurman Thomas, the former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back, performed the ceremonial opening faceoff.

Just Posted

Red Deer massage therapist not guilty of sexual assault

Judge said he had reasonable doubt and must acquit

Update: Nine dead, 16 injured in van incident authorities call a horrific attack

TORONTO — Nine people died and 16 others were injured when a… Continue reading

Watch: Flood watch remains for Waskasoo Creek

Red Deer crews monitoring creek

Warm temperatures this week for Red Deer

23 C forecast for Saturday

WATCH: Central Alberta dancers take over Red Deer College with their moves

Danceworks Central Alberta Dance Festival is now in its 38th year

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Anti-straw movement should consider people with disabilities, advocates say

TORONTO — Some Canadians who rely on plastic straws are calling on… Continue reading

Doctors must get better at diagnosing patients with darker skin: Dermatologists

TORONTO — About a month ago, a frustrated Emma Schmidt turned to… Continue reading

Loblaw Companies tax court trial over Barbadian banking subsidiary starts

TORONTO — A tax court trial involving Loblaw Companies Ltd. and allegations… Continue reading

As trial winds down, DA downplays Cosby travel records

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Prosecutors highlighted gaps in Bill Cosby’s travel records on… Continue reading

Summer Movie Preview: Hollywood roars back into action

LOS ANGELES — Summer starts early this year in Hollywood with the… Continue reading

5 things to know as William and Kate have 3rd child

LONDON — Like everything to do with Britain’s royal family, a mix… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month