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U.S., Sweden back in World Under-18 title game

Friday, 04.20.2012 / 6:37 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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U.S., Sweden back in World Under-18 title game
For the third-straight year, the U.S. and Sweden will meet in the gold-medal game at the World Under-18 Championship.

For the third straight year, the U.S. and Sweden will meet in the gold-medal game at the World Under-18 Championship.

Kyle Osterberg's goal 6:26 into the third period was the difference for the U.S. in its 2-1 semifinal win against Canada in a game played at Kajot Arena in Brno, Czech Republic.

U.S. defenseman Seth Jones fired a shot from the high slot that missed wide of the net, but Osterberg grabbed the puck from behind the net and scored on the wraparound.

"There's no greater feeling than getting one up on Canada," Osterberg told the IIHF website. "There's really no words to describe it."

A forward with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, Osterberg is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for next season.

"The last goal was a tough goal to give up," Canada coach Jesse Wallin said. "We didn't finish our check in the neutral zone. If we finish that check and eliminate their defenseman, then the puck doesn't end up in our zone. But it's those little details that are the difference, and they were a little better at the details than us."

The U.S., the three-time defending tournament champion, will face Sweden, which won its semifinal earlier Friday, in the gold-medal game, at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) Sunday in Brno.

J.T. Compher opened the scoring for the U.S., taking a drop pass from Matt Lane and beating Canada goalie Mathew Murray from a sharp angle 10:36 into the game. Compher, a left wing with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-17 team, is eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Canada answered when Gemel Smith skated through the slot to tip a Damon Severson shot past U.S. goalie Collin Olson. Smith, a center with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League, is No. 37 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft.

Olson, No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies for this year's draft, stopped 21 of 22 shots. For the tournament, he's allowed just four goals on 89 shots. His 1.00 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and two shutouts all lead the tournament.

Murray, No. 18 on Central Scouting's final goalie rankings, stopped 25 of 27 shots in the loss.

Smith's goal came with the U.S. a man down, but not because of a penalty. Andrew Copp was checked behind the Canada net and his facemask became tangled in the netting. He had to remove his helmet and skate to the bench to get a new mask.

"I've never had that happen to me before," Copp said. "I was panicking and trying to figure out what to do, then I just took it off and left it there and sprinted for the bench. I was hoping they weren't going to score, but that's exactly what happened. But fortunately it ended well."

The U.S. hopes it ends well when it faces Sweden in the final again. The U.S. has defeated Sweden in the gold-medal game the last two years.

In the first of the day's semifinals, played in Brno, Jesper Pettersson's goal 5:46 into the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled Sweden to a 7-3 victory against Finland.

Taking a pass at the Finland blue line, the defenseman's shot went through traffic and into the net. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound defenseman plays for Linkoping in Sweden's junior league and is No. 31 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters for the 2012 draft.

Sebastian Collberg -- No. 3 on Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters -- had two goals and an assist, and Gustav Possler had a goal and three assists.

"We just tried to come out hard, play our game and also to get pucks in deep and forecheck them," Sweden captain Filip Forsberg, who had a goal and an assist, told the IIHF website. "And I think we started good and maybe got lucky with a few penalties, but after that we were able to take the game over offensively and get some pucks in the net."

After Pettersson's goal put Sweden ahead, it was Forsberg -- Central Scouting's top-rated European skater -- who scored an insurance goal with 7:27 left on a five-on-three power play.

In the battle between two of the highest-rated European goalies for this year's draft, Sweden's Oscar Dansk stopped 41 of 44 shots, while Finland's Joonas Korpisalo allowed five goals on 37 shots before being removed from the game with 5:03 left in the third period.

Dansk is No. 2 on Central Scouting's list, one spot ahead of Korpisalo.

Artturi Lehkonen had a pair of goals for Finland, giving him a tournament-best six in six games. He opened the scoring with a power-play goal 3:18 into the game, but Sweden tied it on Jacob de la Rose's goal late in the first.

Sweden went up 3-1 on goals by Possler and Erik Karlsson in the first 6:52 of the second period, but goals by Lehkonen and Rasmus Ristolainen made it a tied game after 40 minutes.

Finland and Canada now will play in the bronze-medal game, also to be played Sunday in Brno.

Also Friday, Dominik Simon had two goals and three assists and Jakub Vrana had two goals and two assists as the Czech Republic beat Latvia 7-4 in a relegation-pool game played at Zimny Stadion in Znojmo.

In the other relegation game in Znojmo, Xeno Busser's power-play goal 3:45 into the second period held up as the winner as Switzerland beat Denmark 2-1. The end of the game was marred by a melee that saw eight players receive game-misconduct penalties and two receive match penalties. In all, 252 penalty minutes were assessed to the teams after the final whistle. For the game, the teams combined for 272 penalty minutes.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

2012 NHL Draft