Sweden – United States 3-6 (1-2, 2-3, 0-1)
KAZAN, Russia - The U.S. won a record fifth-consecutive U18 medal after topping Sweden in the bronze medal game, 6-3. While the bronze was a notch below the two silver and two gold medals the Americans had earned in the last four seasons, it was nevertheless a positive end to the championship as the nation now owns bragging rights to a new U18 record.
Late-period goals proved to be the key to the U.S. victory as three of the American’s six goals came in the last minute of the stanzas.
After Sweden took the 1-0 lead 14:23 into the game, the U.S. exploded with two even-strength goals in an astounding 16-second span to climb ahead 2-1. Ryan Bourque scored with 50 seconds left in the period, while Robbie Czarnik followed up on the face-off play.
Czarnik struck again 5:12 into the second period as the Americans owned the first half of the middle stanza. Jeremy Morin scored just over two minutes later to give the U.S. a commanding 4-1 lead. But just as every coin has two sides, so did this period as the tide turned to Sweden’s favor in the second half. Henrik Bjorklund and Martin Lundberg each added a goal to cut the American lead down to 4-3. But another late period goal by the Americans, this one with 40 seconds left from Danny Kristo, restored the two-goal lead.
Morin put in the insurance goal with 4:23 left in the game to give the U.S. the 6-3 win. Today’s victory avenged a 5-4 preliminary round loss that ultimately gave Sweden the automatic berth to the semi-final game.
Sweden missed its chance to earn a second straight bronze medal. The country has four medals in U18 history, two bronze medals (2005, 2007) and one silver medal that came in the inaugural year, 1999. The Americans have six total medals in U18 history, three gold (2002, 2005, 2006) two silvers (2004, 2007) and this year’s bronze. Russia tops all medal winners with seven medals, the total including this year’s silver or gold.