Friday, April 23, 2010

IIHF U18 Medal Round: USA Defends the Gold, While Finland Wins Bronze

The Americans got revenge for the Swedes giving them their only loss of this year's U18 World Championship and came up winning gold for the 2nd straight year with a 3-1 win for the Americans over in Minsk, Belarus. Goals by Luke Moffatt, Justin Faulk and Rocco Grimaldi all scored the Americans for the victory.

While Goaltender Jack Campbell who's seeing his Draft Stock Rise and taking over Canadian Goalie Calvin Pickard for the top NA Goalie for June's NHL Draft gave up just 1 goal in the Knockout Rounds, after shutouts over the Czech Republic & Finland, the American Netminder had one of the best showings in this tournaments history to lead the Americans 2nd straight Gold and 5th overall since the U18 World Championships were created in 1999.

What's even more impressive for American Teammates Jack Campbell & Jason Zucker, that this is their 3rd career major Junior Gold Medal in the last year. Winning both the 2009 & 2010 U18 World Championships, plus this season's World Junior Championship back in Jan.

For the Finns, a 2nd straight Bronze Medal came in the 3rd period when a 4 goal 3rd period turned what was a very close and tight game to a runaway as Teemu Pulkkinen clinched the Top Forward Award of this year's U18 World Championship with 10 goals this season.

Here's the Stories from International Ice Hockey Federation Website:

Both Games were in Minsk, Belarus.

Gold Medal Game: Sweden 1 U.S.A. 3 (0-1, 0-2, 1-0)

Sweden VS. U.S.A. Game Photos:

The USA successfully defended its title at the U18 World Championship with a 3-1 win over Sweden. The Gold is Americans fifth at the U18 World Championship and brings their total medal haul to eight at the annual event. Sweden's Silver Medal matched it's best result at the U18's when they won Silver in 1999.

Today's win avenged the only loss for the U.S.A. of this year's tournament, a 4-2 defeat in the opening game of the preliminary round. Since 2002, the Americans have missed the Podium only once, in 2003 when they finished in 4th place.

The game was played in the 15,000 seat Minsk Arena. It was the only game of the event that was played at the newly-opened, state-of-the-art building and over 10,000 fans came for the Final.

The Americans came out firing up in the first period and quickly took the 1-0 lead when Luke Moffatt scored a clean shot from the slot just 2:10 into action. The Americans pressured the Swedish Net after the goal, but Johan Gustafsson stood his ground and weathered the storm.

The Momentum took a massive turn when Austin Watson was given a five minute penalty and game misconduct for a brutal hit on Sweden's Henri Snall. Snall had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, likely with a concussion. The U.S. was forced to buckle down and change to a defense mode, and ultimately killed off the the lengthy penalty while getting nearly as many shots as the Swedes did during the man advantage.

Midway through the 2nd period, the Americans extended the lead to 2-0. Justin Faulk flipped in the puck after Nick Shore fed him a pass as he streaked in-front of the goal. The Americans continued to pressure the Swedish Net and climbed ahead 3-0, just 14 seconds after a late power play late in the 2nd period. Rocco Grimaldi scored on the rebound, putting the U.S. in position heading into the 2nd intermission.

Sweden found renewed life in the 3rd period when Ludvig Rensfeldt put in a shot from the face-off circle to make it a 3-1 affair 6:54 into the 3rd period. Bute despite having their best play of the game after the goal, the comeback went no further as the U.S. hung on for the 3-1 lead.

For two U.S. Players, the gold medal was their third in a row at an IIHF Event. Jason Zucker and Jack Campbell were on two gold medal winning teams at the 2009 U18's, this year's U18's plus the World Junior Championship back in January.

Bronze Medal Game

Finland 5 Russia 1 (0-0, 1-0, 4-1)

Finland VS. Russia Game Photos:

Finland took its 2nd consecutive bronze medal game at the U18 World Championship after topping Russia, 5-1, in today's Bronze Medal Game. Teemu Pulkkinen scored a hat trick, to bring his Goal Total to ten at this year's Championship.

The Finns were definitely pleased with their third place finish, especially considering the obstacles they had to overcome this year. Top Goaltender Sami Aittokallio going down with injury before the event started and a few players had flu symptoms for today's Bronze Medal Match. It is Finland's sixth medal at the U18 World Championship and their 3rd Bronze Medal Finish.

Finland and Russia met in the Preliminary round, which Finland won 5-4 and for much of the game it looked like today's game would similarly close until the Finns erupted for 4 third period goals.

Pulkkinen has been Finland's best go-to man in the entire tournament, so it only seemed fitting that he broke a 35 minute deadlock to give Finland the 1-0 lead. Pulkkinen streaked down the ice and fired a shot from the slot to get past Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevski high.

Before the goal, the teams were playing tentatively, trading penalties but not taking advantage of the extra man opportunities.

Finland opened up a seemingly high 2-0 lead when Mikael Granlund, Finland's other top player, scored 2:33 into the third period of the first power-play chance of the period. He was assisted by his younger brother Markus. After the 2-0 goal, the floodgates opened, with the Finns putting in another 3 goals compared with Russia's lone, late game tally that made it 5-1.

Just like in the Semifinal Loss, Russia's Frustration shine through in a late game Mellie, which resulted in 127 penalty minutes.

Here's the Final Tournament Rankings and the Tournament Awards from this year's U18 World Championship.

Gold Medal: U.S.A.

Silver Medal: Sweden

Bronze Medal: Finland

4th Place: Russia

5th Place: Switzerland

6th Place: Czech Republic

7th Place: Canada

8th Place: Slovakia

9th Place: Latvia

10th Place: Belarus

Latvia & Belarus have been relegated to the 2011 IIHF U18 Division 1 Tournament

Germany & Norway won Promotion from Division 1 and will be competing in the U18 World Championship

Tournament Awards

Tournament All Star Team

G: Jack Campbell (USA)*

D: Adam Clendening (USA)

D: Adam Larsson (SWE)

F: Johan Larrson (SWE)

F: Evgeni Kuznetsov (RUS)

F: Temmu Pulkkinen (FIN)

*Tournament MVP

Best Forward: Teemu Pulkkinen (FIN)

Best Defensemen: Adam Larrson (SWE)

Best Goaltender: Jack Campbell (USA)

In addition to the U18 World Championship's wrapping up. The Final Event of the International Season will start on May 7 as the Men's Ice Hockey World Championship will be in Colonge & Mannheim, Germany this season.

Here's how the opening Groups will look for the 16 Teams.

Group A in Colonge: Russia, Belarus, Slovakia, Kazakhstan

Group B in Mannheim: Canada, Switzerland, Latvia, Italy

Group C in Mannheim: Sweden, Czech Republic, Norway, France

Group D in Colonge: Finland, U.S.A., Germany, Denmark

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I apologize for contacting you in this fashion, but I think you might be interested in submitting your site to my new sports directory…at

    I'm assuming comments are moderated so when I click submit this post won't automatically appear on site, if it does, I again apologize.