Team USA beat Team Sweden on Saturday evening in Ufa, Russia to win the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships Gold Medal, as Rocco Grimaldi and John Gibson led the Americans to a 3-1 victory.
After some nerves seemed to take hold of the Americans in the first period, going down 1-0 early in the second period appeared to wake the team up. Grimaldi scored twice in the second to give USA a lead they would never relinquish, surviving a tremendous surge by Sweden in the final period to earn a tremendous victory for American hockey.
Goaltender John Gibson was once again absolutely fantastic in net, stopping 26 of 27 shots in the game including several point blank chances in the second and third period. John Gaudreau was once again a force offensively although it was Grimaldi who seemed most intent on being the difference maker in the game, after a tough start to the tournament.
Overall it was a tremendous team win, as the defensive system of Team USA completely frustrated the Sweden possession game for the majority of the contest. Defenseman Seth Jones was just a mountain in his own zone, making several big plays in front of the net while also showing off a bazooka from the point. Jacob Trouba looks like he could be a Norris candidate in around six or seven years.
The United States came into the 2013 World Juniors with plenty of questions and perhaps the biggest underdog of the "Big Four" teams, forced to play an elimination game in the final game of group play to stay alive in the tournament. The USA failed to make the medal round in 2012 and there were some who felt the same could happen again after tough losses to Russia and Canada in the preliminary round.
Since easily beating Slovakia and Czech Republic to stay alive the US absolutely rolled, beating Canada 5-1 to earn a spot in the Gold Medal game against Sweden.
A big congratulations to Team USA for another momentous win, showing the world once again that USA Hockey is better than it ever has been before. It's been a fun tournament and great one to watch for us here in Dallas, as Texas native Seth Jones was a big part of the win for the USA. It was also great to see his mom in the crowd rocking the Stars gear.
We'll have some prospect updates from the tournament on Monday. Until then, enjoy a big win for the USA.