Winning four straight gold medals at any high-level competition is a difficult undertaking, but Team USA had done just that heading into the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship in Sochi, Russia. But winning “one for the thumb”, so to speak, proved to be a challenge just out of the reach of the American squad as they were defeated by Canada in the U18 gold medal game, 3-2.
Early on at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, it looked as though Team USA might not have enough to make a run at a fifth consecutive gold medal at this tournament. But the team has come together as the U18 has progressed and, after a wild, 4-3 shootout win over host Russia in the semi-finals, the USA will in fact do battle for another gold medal.
In what was a see-saw battle ultimately decided in a shootout, the USA defeated Russia, 4-3, to move on to their fifth consecutive gold medal game at the U18 World Junior Championship. Team USA's opponent in the championship game will be Canada, who are going for their first gold medal win in five years at this event.
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.