JONES AND KELLER COMBINE FOR FIVE POINTS, U.S. HEADS TO GOLD MEDAL GAME
JASON LA ROSE
SARNIA, Ont. – Max Jones had a goal and an assist, Clayton Keller added three helpers, and the United States advanced to the gold medal game at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 4-1 semifinal win over Sweden on Friday afternoon.
The Americans are in the final for the fifth time in the last six years, and will play either Finland or Russia for their fifth gold medal all-time on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2) at the RBC Centre in Sarnia.
Kailer Yamamoto, Joey Anderson and Luke Martin also scored for the Americans, who ran their winning streak at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge to 12 games, dating back to the 2013 semifinals.
Alexander Nylander had the lone goal for Sweden, which will meet the loser of the Finland-Russia semifinal in Saturday afternoon’s bronze medal game in Sarnia (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).
It was the Swedes who struck first just past the midway mark of the first period, with Nylander one-timing a pass from Pontus Karlsson along the ice and past American netminder Joseph Woll.
It was the first time the U.S. had trailed in the tournament, but the lead lasted only 4:20; the Americans worked the puck around to Yamamoto, who hammered a shot to the far side past Filip Gustavsson.
The goal was the first Gustavsson had allowed in close to 180 minutes; the Swedish goaltender had posted back-to-back shutouts over Slovakia and Canada White in his previous two starts.
The U.S. couldn’t get the puck to bounce their way early in the second period, hitting two posts and a cross bar in the opening minutes, but Anderson gave the Americans the lead for good at 8:49, kicking a pass from Keller from his skate to his stick before beating Gustavsson with a quick release to the glove side.
The American power play took over in the third; first it was Martin at 10:41, finding a loose puck at the side of the Swedish net and roofing one over Gustavsson, followed two minutes later by Jones, who had two whacks in front at his sixth goal in five games.
The U.S. finished with a wide advantage in shots on goal, 37-17.