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THREE KINGS PROSPECTS TAKE HOME THE BRONZE

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
LEKSAND, Sweden (CP) - Erik Johnson scored the winning goal and assisted on another as the United States beat Sweden 2-1 to win the bronze medal at the world junior hockey championship Friday.


The medal is the United States' first since beating Canada for gold at the 2004 tournament in Helsinki, Finland. This year, the Americans recovered from a 2-1 shootout loss to Canada in the semifinals to claim some hardware.

"We weren't going to come all the way over here and not show nothing for it," said American defenceman Jack Johnson. "Might as well come get a medal. It wasn't too hard to get jacked up to win a bronze medal.

"There's never been a U.S. team before that's won a bronze-medal game, so we wanted to leave our mark here."

The game was tied 1-1 when Erik Johnson beat goalie Joel Gistedt with a wrist shot at 12:34 into the second period, his fourth goal of the tournament.

Sweden, playing before a partisan crowd, had a two-man advantage for more than a minute in the final period, but rarely threatened American goalie Jeff Frazee.

The Swedes managed just six shots in the final frame and 26 in all. The Americans had 22 shots.

"It was a tough loss the other night (to Canada), pretty emotional loss, but all the guys bounced back," said American forward Pat Kane. "We have a lot of character in that room."

Seconds before the end of the first period, a shot by Erik Johnson rebounded to Kane, who scored from a tough angle to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. It was Kane's team-high fifth goal of the tournament.

Sweden's Patrik Zackrisson tied the score on a quick wrist shot from close range nine minutes into the second period.

"It's good to get a win in a tough environment against the home team," said Kane. "It's good to see the guys all happy in there."

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