HELSINKI, Finland — The U.S. National Junior Team earned the bronze medal with an 8-3 victory against Sweden here tonight at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis./University of Notre Dame), Ryan Donato (Scituate, Mass./Harvard University) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./London) each scored twice and Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 35 shots in the win.
The U.S. finished the tournament with a 5-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record, and has medaled in four of the last seven years.
"After a tough loss less than 24 hours ago, to come back and finish with a win and the bronze medal is a terrific accomplishment," said Ron Wilson, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "It was a total team effort and I couldn't be more proud of our guys."
Team USA opened the scoring at 11:59 of the first period when Christian Dvorak (Palos, Ill./London) put a backhand shot on net and Bjork was there to finish the rebound.
Just 3:33 later as a U.S. power play expired, Tkachuk tipped in a point shot by Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich./University of Michigan) to make it 2-0. The two-goal lead was quickly erased, however, as Sweden’s William Lagesson tapped in a rebound off the rush at 17:39 and :55 later, Carl Grundstrom converted at the back post.
At 2:17 of the second period, Brock Boeser (Burnsville, Minn./University of North Dakota) controlled the puck from the top of the crease and redirected it into the net for his first goal of the tournament.
Donato made it 4-2 for the U.S. when he got his stick on a pass from Brandon Carlo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Tri-City) and deflected it past Swedish goaltender Felix Sandstrom at 4:06 for what would prove to be the game winner.
About four minutes later, Sweden nearly pulled the game back within one, but a redirection in front of the net was ruled a high stick and the goal was disallowed.
At 16:31, Bjork skated in on net between two Swedish defensemen, pulled the puck to his forehand and scored in the top corner for his second of the game. Nine seconds before the end of the period, Carlo collected a cross-ice pass from Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis./University of North Dakota) and converted the two-on-one to make it 6-2.
At 3:38 of the third stanza, Donato scored his second goal when he picked the puck off deep in Sweden’s zone and tucked it inside the left post.
With 8:48 remaining, Schmaltz and Tkachuk broke through the Swedish defense for a two-on-one. Schmaltz slid the puck to Tkachuk, who gave the U.S. an 8-2 cushion after lifting the puck above Sandstrom’s right pad.
Sweden's Axel Holmstrom scored inside the right post with 1:32 remaining to account for the 8-3 final.
Seven U.S. players had multi-point games, including Tkachuk (2-1--3), Schmaltz (0-3--3), Bjork (2-0--2), Donato (2-0--2), Carlo (1-1--2), Dvorak (0-2--2), and Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo./Kitchener) (0-2—2).
NOTES: Anders Bjork was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... For a complete box score, click here … Zach Werenski was named by the directorate as the tournament's top defenseman ... Zach Werenski and Auston Matthews were named to the tournament's Media All-Star Team ... Auston Matthews, Alex Nedeljkovic and Zach Werenski were named Team USA’s three best players of the tournament ... Matthews had seven goals in this year's World Juniors, the most of any player in the tournament … Team USA scored 34 goals in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship and allowed just 10 goals ... For more information on the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, including a full roster, click here ... Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the U.S. National Junior Team … All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network. For more information about the tournament, please click here.
|Date||Opponent||Location||Result||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Sat., Dec. 26||Canada||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-2||Colin White|
|Mon., Dec. 28||Sweden||Helsinki Ice Hall||L, 0-1||Zach Werenski|
|Wed., Dec. 30||Switzerland||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 10-1||Auston Matthews|
|Thu., Dec. 31||Denmark||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-1||Brandon Carlo|
|Sat., Jan. 2||Czech Republic
|Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 7-0||Nick Schmaltz|
|Mon., Jan. 4||Russia
|Hartwall Arena||L, 1-2||Christian Dvorak|
|Tues. , Jan. 5||Sweden
Bronze Medal Game
|Hartwall Arena||W, 8-3||Anders Bjork|