One of the greatest rivalries in hockey lived up to its expectations on Wednesday night in Montreal, Quebec.
The United States out-lasted Russia 4-3 in a shootout to advance to the gold medal game of the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship. The U.S. got two goals from Ottawa Senators prospect Colin White, while goalie Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames) stopped 33 of 36 shots faced on the night.
Sabres prospect Casey Fitzgerald registered a shot on goal and was a minus-2 in 20:40 of total ice time in the win. Fitzgerald played an important role in the 10-minute overtime as he rotated shifts with Boston Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy. In overtime, Fitzgerald accounted for 4:02 of total ice time in overtime while McAvoy was on the ice for 5:40 in the extra time.
The U.S. had beaten the Russians earlier in the tournament in preliminary play, and this is the first win over Russia in a playoff round game since the step-ladder format was adopted in 1996.
The U.S. will face Canada in the gold medal game on Thursday after they beat Alexander Nylander, Rasmus Asplund and Team Sweden on Wednesday night, 5-2. The Swedes will have to play for the bronze medal against the Russians.
Nylander added another point to his stellar tournament so far with an assist on Sweden's second goal from Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, Carl Grundstrom. His assist put his point total at 12 (five goals and seven assists) which remains the top total in the tournament. Nylander registered three shots on goal in the game and was a minus-2 in 19:21 of total ice time.
Leafs prospect Carl Grundstrom scores for Sweden to put them up 2-1 over Canada, but my goodness, Alex Nylander's touch at the start pic.twitter.com/21BoU2uJ4U— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 5, 2017
Following the game, Nylander was voted as a Top-Three Player for Sweden in the tournament by the coaches. There could be a chance Nylander gets voted as a media all-star for the tournament, which will be announced following the gold medal game. Now in 13 career games at the IIHF World Juniors, Nylander now has nine goals and 12 assists.
Asplund was voted as the Player of the Game for Sweden after registering a shot on goal in 21:23 of total ice time. Asplund was on the ice for 8:55 in the third period, which was the longest of any player on the Swedish roster.
Canada was able to turn the tide after Grundstrom's goal in the first period to make it a 2-1 game for Sweden. Canada went on the score four unanswered goals to clinch a berth in the gold medal game against the Americans.
The bronze medal game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The gold medal game will be played at 8 p.m. Both games will be played at the Bell Centre in Montreal.