U.S. 5 Sweden 2
SASKATOON — The United States earned a rematch with Canada at the 2010 world junior hockey championship, and this time its for the gold medal.
The Americans upset favoured Sweden 5-2 Sunday and advanced to Tuesday’s final (TSN, 6 p.m.), where they will try to stop Canada from winning a record sixth straight championship.
That would be a nice measure of revenge for the Americans, who suffered a 5-4 shootout loss to Canada on Wednesday in a battle for first place in Group A.
The loss sent the Americans to the quarter-finals, where they beat Finland 6-2.
Canada, which earned a quarter-final bye by beating the Americans, defeated Switzerland 6-1 in an earlier semifinal.
The two countries will face each other in the championship game of this tournament for the first time since 2004, when the U.S. defeated Canada 4-3 in Helsinki, Finland, for the Americans’ first world junior title.
“This is a great opportunity for us to show that we’re a good team and we’re here to win gold,” said Jerry D’Amigo.
The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect scored a pair of goals, including one short-handed, in front of Leafs GM Brian Burke who was watching the game.
Tyler Johnson of the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs, defenceman John Carlson also scored for the U.S. on Sunday, and A.J. Jenks added an empty-net goal in front of 12,137 at Credit Union Centre.
Carlson, who plays in the American Hockey League for Hershey, scored the go-ahead goal at 12:34 when his shot from the blue-line bounced under Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom. D’Amigo then scored short-handed at 16:32.
“For us, we set a goal in Lake Placid this summer and in North Dakota where we had our tryout camp and our goal was to come out with a medal and the other was to win that gold medal,” U.S. captain Derek Stepan said.
Assistant captain and Edmonton Oilers prospect Anton Lander scored a pair of goals for Sweden. U.S. goalie Mike Lee stopped 27 shots for the victory while Markstrom, a Florida Panthers prospect, made 30 saves.
Sweden (4-0) went undefeated to finish first in Group B and clinch the bye to the semifinal.
The Swedes had hoped to advance to the final for a third straight year and avenge their last two losses to Canada in the championship game. Instead, they will play Switzerland for bronze, which for this team is a major disappointment.
“I can’t tell you in words (how much),” said Swedish forward Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.
“We knew they were a real tough team and almost as good as Canada. It’s tough. I thought we played as we should. We had the puck and we didn’t execute. We made three mistakes and they scored three goals on us.”
Swedish captain Marcus Johansson received a five-minute major and game misconduct for elbowing D’Amigo in the head early in the third period. His team managed to kill off the lengthy penalty.
Sweden took a 2-1 lead on Lander’s goals at 4:17 and 12:17 of the second period, but D’Amigo deadlocked the game at 15:06.
The U.S. struck early when Johnson scored at 1:24 of the first period for his third goal of the tournament.
Prior to 2004, the only time Canada and the U.S. played for gold was in 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland, with the Canadians prevailing.
“Nobody really expects us to win because Canada has won five years in a row, so you have to tip your hats to them,” U.S. forward Jason Zucker said. “We’re going to go out there and give it our best and hopefully win a gold medal.”