WJC Championship 2013: Sweden vs USA
It'll be Swedish speed versus American power vying for the gold medal this Saturday at international hockey's World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.
The USA upset a strong contingent from Canada, 5-1, avenging a pool play loss to the tourney's co-favorites. Defenseman Jake McCabe and Boston College winger John Gaudreau each scored a pair of goals, leading the Americans to their second title-game appearance in recent years (they won it in 2010).
The Americans stunned Canada with a strong display of physical dominance throughout the game, establishing that fact early and drawing penalties from the frustrated skaters of the Great White North. “We played exactly how we needed to,” said McCabe. “We played in their zone, we controlled the pace and we put them on their heels right off the bat. They really didn’t know what hit them in the first, I don’t think.”
Hoping for an "Uff da" moment in Ufa, the defending champion Swedes jumped on the host Russians early, dominating the first half of the game while compiling a 2-0 lead. However, the hosts sprang to life with a deflected goal from the right point and another tally after a scramble in the crease to tie the game and send it into overtime.
After a scoreless extra frame, the shootout came down to the last scheduled skater, 17-year-old Sebastian Collberg, who was the only player to bury the puck in a dramatic conclusion to a match featuring a breathtaking display of pace from both sides.