Team USA finished its dream run in the World Junior Hockey Championships by beating Sweden 3-1 Saturday in the tournament finals to claim the gold medal and international praise.
It was clear Team USA was the cream of the crop during this short tournament, and this marks the third gold medal for the Americans in the WJC.
Led by the elite play of goaltender John Gibson and the amazing penalty-killing ability of the Team USA special teams, Sweden was held in check despite plenty of opportunities.
Gibson’s play was so impressive in Saturday's game and throughout the tournament that the young star was awarded the MVP award for the tournament, according to Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal:
Team USA center Rocco Grimaldi came up huge in the offensive end with two goals to tie and put the squad ahead for good against Sweden, and it was Vince Trocheck who put the game away with an empty-net goal in the late third period.
Team Sweden was defending champion, but Team USA couldn’t be stopped after it shocked the world and sent Team Canada home with a 5-1 quarterfinal loss.
Add in a victory over Sweden in the finals, and this was a wild success for the Americans.
For the full box score, check out TSN.com.
With no NHL hockey and the possibility of an entire season lost due to the ongoing lockout, the WJC was hardcore hockey fans' only way to really enjoy hockey once again.
Now that the tournament is over and Team USA has been declared the winner, hockey fans are relegated to watching old AHL footage of days gone by.
This was an amazing tournament that culminated in a gold-medal game worthy of the stage it was presented on, but it just gave the fans of the NHL a taste of what they were missing.
Hopefully there will be a season next year, so we can see these young stars in action.
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