The Americans and the Swedes played their second game of the World Junior Championships last night, and the results of both contests were determined by late action.
In Group B, Team USA made some changes to their lineup configuration, notably in goal, where backup John Gibson made his first start. Despite launching 39 shots on Finnish goaltender Sami Aittokallio, USA only managed to dent the twine once.Three late goals by Finland, two of them scored by Buffalo Sabres prospect Joel Armia, sealed a surprising 4-1 victory for the Finns.
In Group A, the Swedes seemed in control of their game against Switzerland, outshooting them 36-13 through the first two periods and taking a two-goal lead into the final frame. The Swiss fought back to tie the game late in regulation, but Sweden ultimately buried both of their shootout attempts to record a 4-3 victory.
Team USA (4-1 L vs. Finland)
Adam Clendening, D: Head Coach Dean Blais reorganized his defensive pairings ahead of the second game, and Clendening spent most of his ice time paired with fellow Blackhawk prospect Stephen Johns. As in the first game of the tournament, Clendening was the point man on the first power-play unit. He took two shots on goal and finished with a -1 plus-minus rating.
Stephen Johns, D: Johns took one shot on goal while partnered with Clendening on the blue line. He also finished the game with a -1 rating.
Brandon Saad, LW: Saad remained on the top line for Team USA and continued to play quality minutes at even strength and on special teams. Saad scored the Americans’ lone goal 19 seconds into the third period, a tip-in at the top of the crease off a pass by Emerson Etem. Saad was the only player for Team USA to register a positive plus-minus for the game (+1).
Team Sweden (4-3 W (SO) vs. Switzerland)
Johan Mattsson, G: Did not play.
Joakim Nordstrom, C: Taking advantage of a spot on Sweden’s second power-play unit, Nordstrom scored in the second period, making it two goals in two games. He ended the night with a +1 rating.
Ludvig Rensfeldt, LW: Rensfeldt continued to assert his dominance with the man advantage, assisting on Sweden’s first score of the game, a PP tally by tournament goal leader Max Friberg. Less than two minutes into the third period, Rensfeldt added a goal of his own, his first of the competition.