Both the USA and Sweden entered the playoff round at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship having lost their final game of the preliminary round. As fate would have it, the two teams faced off against one another in the U18 quarter-finals, with Sweden hoping to end a losing streak to the USA that includes three consecutive goal medal game losses at this event.
USA goaltender Thatcher Demko was one of the stars for his team as he turned aside all 28 shots to notch his first shutout of the U18. Demko had not been discussed much up to this point in the tournament, but he came through for his team when they needed him most. Demko will have to be equally sharp in the remaining games if the USA wants to win their fifth consecutive goal medal.
And, although defenseman Keaton Thompson is not starring on the score sheet for the Americans, he has played his typically steady brand of hockey over the course of this tournament. Thompson is a well regarded prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, so his performance at this tournament should only enhance his draft value.
Thompson spoke with Hockey's Future following the win over Sweden, while Demko's comments to the media were captured in this HF video.
Follow Chapin Landvogt on Twitter via @Csomichapin
Follow Hockey's Future on Twitter via @HockeysFuture