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Gameday: U.S. Goes for Gold at 2019 World Juniors

By, 01/05/19, 10:00AM MST


U.S. meets Finland in gold-medal game at 8 p.m. ET on NHL Network

The U.S. (5-0-1-0) meets Finland (4-0-0-2) tonight in the gold-medal game of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. The two teams, which met last Monday (4-1, USA) are meeting in the gold-medal game for the first time in tournament history. Tonight's game, which will be televised live on NHL Network, is set for 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) here at Rogers Arena.

Tonight marks the sixth gold-medal game appearance for the United States and the third time doing so on Canadian soil. All-time, the U.S. holds a 2-2-0-1 record in gold medal games with its last appearance being just two years ago when the U.S. came back from two two-goal deficits to edge Canada, 5-4, in an overtime shootout.
    After falling to Canada, 2-0, in the 1997 gold-medal game, the U.S. has reeled off four gold-medal game victories, topping Canada three times (2004, 4-3 W; 2010, 6-5 OTW; 2017, 5-4 SOW) and Sweden once (2013, 3-1).

All-time, Team USA is 13-3-0-16-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against Finland in tournament play. This is just the third-ever medal-game meeting and first time the two teams are skating against one another in a gold-medal game. In their previous two medal-game meetings in tournament play, Finland won both bronze-medal games (2003, 2006). Including all playoff round games, the U.S. holds a 3-0-0-2 record.
     The two teams met on New Year's Eve last Monday where Tyler Madden (Hartford, Conn./Northeastern University) scored twice while Jason Robertson (Northville, Mich./Niagara IceDogs) and Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University) each added tallies to lead the U.S. past Finland, 4-1.

For this particular age group, a U.S.-Finland gold-medal game is becoming the norm as the last two IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship gold-medal games have seen a U.S.-Finland final. In 2017, nine U.S. players were part of Team USA's 4-2 gold-medal win while six U.S. players helped the U.S. return to the gold-medal game last year where it fell by a 3-2 count. In fact, since 2014, the U.S. (2014, 2015, 2017) and Finland (2016, 2018) are the only two nations to win an IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship.

Both teams enter tonight's championship tilt with winning records in IIHF World Junior Championship gold-medal games. The U.S. holds a 2-2-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record in five appearances while Finland is 0-3-0-1 in four gold-medal games. Finland also captured a gold-medal in 1987 when the tournament was in a round-robin format.

Since 2010, no other nation has won more gold medals in an IIHF World Junior Championship than Team USA's three (2010, 2013, 2017). Finland (2014, 2016) and Canada (2015, 2018) are the only other two nations to win a gold medal more than once. Additionally, the three nations have combined to win the last six gold-medal games.

With Team USA's semifinal win yesterday, the United States has guaranteed itself a medal for the fourth consecutive IIHF World Junior Championship, continuing its unprecedented medal streak in tournament play. The U.S. won gold in 2017 and earned bronze medals in 2016 and 2018. 

Yesterday, Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J./Northeastern University) made 34 saves as Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass./Boston College) and Sasha Chmelevski (Northville, Mich./Ottawa 67's) scored to help the U.S. National Junior Team advance to the gold-medal game of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 2-1 semifinal victory over Russia. For the full game recap, click here.

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