World Juniors: Söderström Stones Team USA
The days of North American might vs European finesse in international hockey are long gone.
As much as the NHL's Euro-influx is influential in this change, the fact that NHL games are now readily available in Europe is more so.
Case in point: the Tre Kronor -- three crowns, the symbol for Sweden's national team -- fields a defense that could easily mix it up on the gridiron. And they don't mind letting the North Americans know.
Moral of the story: Sweden finishes.
That included their key rush in the second period when they caught the American blueliners pinching:
Rugged defense and that lone goal set the stage for Linus Söderström, who turned aside a whopping 46 shots -- 21 against the power play -- to make that goal stand up and put Sweden atop Group A.
The blueliners did a strong job of keeping most of those shots out on the wings, with Söderström cleaning up everything that did get through:
Sweden's clash with Canada is set for New Year's Eve. The USA will finish pool play against Denmark and Switzerland, which should go well for them.
The knockout round follows, where scores will well and truly be settled.