Team USA wins gold medal at World Junior Championships

From Russia with love, indeed.

In a whirlwind finish to what is widely considered a showcase of the world’s best hockey prospects, Team USA captured the gold medal with a win over Team Sweden in the championship game of the 2013 World Junior Championships in the early morning hours today.

The tournament was held in Ufa, Russia this year.

Despite the fact that Team USA entered the tournament as underdogs behind Canada and Russia, who were favorite to win gold, American defenseman Seth Jones, who will likely be a top-three draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, stated before the tournament that Team USA had the best squad in the tournament. Evidently, Jones is a good judge of talent.

After losing to both Canada and Russia early in the tournament, Team USA bounced back and raised eyebrows after defeating Canada with a healthy 5-1 victory on Jan. 3 in the semi-finals, catapulting the team into the gold-medal game. Sweden, who won gold last year at the 2012 World Junior Championships, found themselves back in the gold medal game with a 3-2 shootout win over Russia.

After falling behind 1-0 in the second period of the contest on a shorthanded goal, USA responded midway through the second period when Rocco Grimaldi tied the game. Grimaldi netted his second goal just minutes later by deflecting a shot from Jacob Trouba. That would be all the American’s needed to secure the victory, but the team added an insurance goal in the empty-net at the end of the game to keep Sweden at bay.

This was USA’s third medal and second gold in the last four years at the tournament.

“Our success is a result of the effort of so many people over the course of the last 25 years,” said USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean. “We now expect it and it’s been that way for a while. We’re extremely proud of this team, and all of our teams, and we’ll continue to work hard to be the best in the world on a consistent basis.”

American goaltender John Gibson was named tournament MVP, Best Goaltender and headlined the All-Star Team.

“He’s the definition of the backbone of this team,” said Jones, who had seven points and was plus-eight in the tournament. “He led us all the way. …Even in the 2-1 losses to Canada and Russia, he played his heart out.”

Team USA certainly had the odds stacked against them, especially when compared to the star-laden rosters of some of the other national teams. Notably, Team Canada was captained by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a former number one overall draft pick who has one year of NHL experience for the Edmonton Oilers, and Nathan MacKinnon, who is widely considered the player to go number one overall in this year’s draft.

Subsequently, Canada failed to medal in the tournament after falling to Team Russia 6-5 in an overtime loss. Nail Yakupov, who was selected by the Edmonton Oilers first overall in the draft this past June, finished the game with two goals for Russia.

This was the first time since 1998 that the Canadians did not win a medal at the World Junior Championships.

USA defenseman Jacob Trouba was named the best defenseman of the tournament and and named to the All-Star Team. Nugent-hopkins was named the best forward after tallying 15 points throughout the tournament.

Check out the video below to see Team USA’s go-ahead goal from Rocco Grimaldi:


  1. Look out All. USA is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Ice Hockey.
    No longer are they prey for the big 4 Countries.

    Also, the NHL & Player association is back at the negotiating table.
    This will sure to include USA born players in the future

  2. USA is definitely emerging as a force on the international stage. Three medals, including two gold, in the last four years in the WJC, in addition to a Silver medal performance at the Olympics a few years back. Exciting time to be a USA hockey fan.

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