Teams USA and Sweden entered the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship with high hopes for winning gold. Instead, the two hockey powers met in the bronze medal game, an outcome that was certainly a disappointment to both squads.
If the outcome of the bronze medal game was any indication, though, then Sweden seemed to be the team that suffered the worst after-effects from their semi-final loss as the USA took home the bronze after a decisive 8-3 win over the Swedes at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
The two teams ended the first period tied at two, with Anders Bjork (BOS) and Matthew Tkachuk (2016) netting goals for the U.S., and William Lagesson (EDM) and Carl Grundstrom (2016) answering for Sweden. But two goals early in the second period by the U.S. seemed to break the will of the Swedes, with two more goals later in the second frame providing the USA with a commanding 6-2 lead heading into the third period.
Sweden didn’t completely throw in the towel as they outshot the U.S. 15-6 in the final period, but they were outscored 2-1 after Donato and Tkachuk added their second goals of the game for the U.S., while Sweden’s Axel Holmstrom (DET) closed out the scoring.
Matthew Tkachuk, another of the 2016-eligible prospects at this tournament to turn in a good showing, led the USA with two goals and an assist, with Bjork and Donato also contributing two goals in the win. Starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (CAR) stopped 35 of 38 shots to get the win, his fourth win of the tournament.
Game highlights from the USA-Sweden bronze medal encounter can be viewed below.
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