United States defeats Sweden 4-2 to win bronze
BUFFALO, N.Y. – After winning his second medal at the World Junior Championships, Jack Campbell would love to go for the hat trick.
Campbell made 34 saves, and Chris Kreider had two goals to help the United States win the bronze medal with a 4-2 win over Sweden on Wednesday.
Campbell, who turns 19 on Sunday, was in goal when the Americans defeated Canada in overtime in the gold-medal game last year, and is eligible to play in this Under-20 tournament next year in Alberta, Canada.
“For me, personally, I wanted that gold medal,” said Campbell, the Dallas Stars’ first-round pick (11th overall) in 2010. “That’s what I had my heart set on. My goal is to keep getting better, and we’ll see where that takes me for next season. If I’m fortunate enough to come back, I’d like to hopefully lead Team USA to a gold medal.”
Campbell is the most decorated amateur goalie in U.S. history. He’s the only goaltender to win three gold medals in international play – including two Under-18 tourney golds – and improved to 16-2-1 in International Ice Hockey Federation games.
In this tournament, he allowed just 10 goals in six games, and singlehandedly kept the Americans in it against Canada in the semifinals by finishing with 37 saves in a 4-1 loss Monday.
“His record speaks for itself,” coach Keith Allain said. “The championships he’s won, and the game’s that he’s won in international competition have been amazing. But just as important to me is that he’s a fantastic kid. He told me that he really wanted to get a gold medal for the guys that were new to the team this year. That’s how he approaches it.”
Drew Shore and Nick Bjugstad added third-period goals for the Americans, who’ve won medals in back-to-back years for the first time since this tournament began in 1977.
The U.S. also medaled for the first time in five tries on home soil.
“This was important to show that we can compete year after year, and not just occasionally win a medal,” Kreider said. “We showed we can stay in contention year after year.”
Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fasth scored, and Fredrik Petersson Wentzel finished with 40 saves for Sweden, which failed to win a medal for the first time in four years.
Both the U.S. and Sweden won their respective groups in pool play to earn byes to the semifinals, but the Swedes lost to Russia in a shootout in the semis. Sweden never was able to regain the momentum it had after an emotional and dramatic shootout win over Canada on Friday that gave them the top seed in Group B.
“We didn’t do enough to win,” Sweden captain Anton Lander said. “We had a good feeling before the game, and had good energy in the locker room before. I don’t have the answer.”
Kreider iced it with his second of the game with 1:53 left in regulation. On a 2-on-1 break, he snapped a wicked shot in from the left circle that went over Petersson Wentzel’s right shoulder.
The Americans took their first lead of the game on Shore’s goal just 52 seconds into the third period to make it 2-1. In front of the net, he was able to deflect Justin Faulk’s shot from the top of the right circle.
Bjugstad made it 3-1 with a deflection in front, but Fasth cut the deficit in half with 5:42 left in the third when he banged home his own rebound in the low slot.
After a scoreless first period, Sweden jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 8:02 left in the second period. On a 2-on-1 rush, Campbell made the first save off a shot from Carl Klingberg, but Lindberg was able to swipe home the rebound on the backhand.
The U.S. tied it on the power play 1:34 later. From the left circle Kreider one-timed a feed from Chris Brown, who sent the pass from behind the goal line after circling the Swedish goal.