Americans win World Junior gold over Sweden
What a difference a year can make. In 2012 the Americans missed out on the medal round in Calgary on their way to a 7th place finish.
In 2013 - despite finishing third in Pool B - they ascended to the top of the podium, as Rocco Grimaldi - at one point benched during the round robin - proved to be the poster boy for American redemption, scoring the tying and winning goals three minutes apart to push the United States to a 3-1 triumph over Sweden to win the gold medal.
While the two sides had a good pace in the early going, neither would find the required scoring touch in the first period.
At one point it looked like Grimaldi's hard-luck would continue, as he had the best scoring in the opening 20 minutes, snapping a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Niklas Lundstrom blocker side but hit both posts before bouncing out of harm's way.
A Cole Bardreau interference penalty late in the first period carried over to the second and that's where Sweden opened the scoring.
After the puck bounced off the skate of Seth Jones, Filip Sandberg got a stick on it, firing it over the glove of John Gibson.
After his earlier misfortune, Grimaldi was the benefactor of some good luck on the equalizing goal.
He dug the puck out from behind the Swedish goal and snapped a bad-angle shot on the net that deflected off the stick of Lundstrom and creeped over the line.
Less than three minutes later, the Americans would take the lead for the first time when Jacob Trouba flipped a puck on goal from the blue line and Grimaldi re-directed it into the net.
With less than seven minutes to play in the third period, Sweden applied furious pressure but time again Gibson -- who made 26 saves in the win -- was there to turn them away.
Lundstrom was pulled from the Swedish net with 100 seconds remaining and Vince Trocheck added an empty net goal with 16 seconds remaining to give the Americans an early start on the celebration.
The Americans improved to 3-1 in gold medal games, playing in one against someone other than Canada for the first time.
Sweden - who will be tournament hosts next year in Malmo - slipped to 1-4 in gold medal games.
In their final four games, starting with their do-or-die final round robin game against Slovakia, the Americans out-scored their opposition 24-5.