Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press
The IIHF World Junior Championship reached the semifinals Thursday at Buffalo, New York, with the United States vs. Sweden and Canada vs. Czech Republic on the slate.
The United States was looking to get one step closer to defending its championship, while Sweden attempted to continue its run as the only undefeated team in the tournament. Canada was coming off an 8-2 domination of Switzerland, while the Czechs were coming off a close 4-3 matchup with Finland.
Here’s a look at how things played out in Thursday’s action.
Sweden 4, United States 2
The United States’ dream of consecutive championships is over.
Filip Gustavsson recorded 29 saves and Sweden scored three goals in the third period on its way to a 4-2 win over the U.S.
Sweden led by as much as 4-0, and the United States did not score until garbage time despite outshooting its opponents 31-20. Elias Pettersson got on the board with a power-play goal in the second period to give the Swedes their first advantage, and they never looked back.
Lias Andersson knocked in the second goal for Sweden off a Fredrik Karlstrom assist early in the second period, and then Oskar Steen and Axel Jonsson Fjallby each scored short-handed goals in a 38-second span to seal the Americans’ fate.
Sweden clinched its first medal in this competition since getting a silver in 2014. The country has not won gold since the 2012 competition.
The United States was attempting to become the first repeat champions since Canada’s five-year run of dominance from 2005-09. Brady Tkachuk and Kieffer Bellows each scored for the U.S. late in the game after things had already been decided.
Sweden awaits the winner of the second game of the evening between the Canadians and Czechs. The United States, which has never won the world juniors on their home ice, faces the loser of that matchup in Friday’s bronze-medal contest.