A smaller, younger, less experienced American team than in previous years, but one that had teamwork and trust in each other, edged Canada 6-5 in overtime Tuesday to foil the host country's bid to win a record sixth straight title.
John Carlson scored the winner with a wrist shot at 4:21 of overtime. It was the second goal of the game for Carlson, on loan to the U.S. team by his American Hockey League team in Hershey.
Tuesday's final was the first between the two countries since 2004, when the U.S. came from behind to beat Canada in Helsinki, Finland, for the Americans' first gold medal in the tournament.
Canada had won it every year after that until Tuesday.
Chris Kreider, Jordan Schroeder, Jerry D'Amigo
and U.S. captain Derek Stepan also scored for the U.S., who had underachieved in this tournament in recent years with bigger names and more first-round NHL draft picks in the lineup.
The U.S. held a selection camp prior to this tournament for the first time instead of simply naming 22 players to its team.
Canada has held selection camps for decades and the practice seemed to help the U.S. as they played a more cohesive team game in this tournament and pulled the most important win.
Canada never led in the game, but Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats scored a pair of goals in the final three minutes to tie the game and force a 20-minute overtime.
Luke Adam of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Windsor Spitfires teammates Greg Nemisz and Taylor Hall also scored for Canada in front of a disappointed sellout crowd of 15,171 at Credit Union Centre.
Eberle was largely responsible for keeping Canada's drive for five titles alive in Ottawa last year by scoring with five seconds left in the semifinal against Russia, and again in the shootout.
He scored Canada's first power-play goal of the game at 17:11 and followed it up with another at 18:25.
Canadian goaltender Jake Allen of the Montreal Junior had a rough game. He was pulled after the Americans' fifth goal early in the third for Martin Jones of the Calgary Hitmen. Allen made 23 save on 28 shots, while Martin made eight saves in relief.
U.S. starter Mike Lee didn't fare much better as he was replaced early in the second by Jack Campbell after giving up three goals on seven shots. The 17-year-old stood tall despite his inexperience with 32 saves.
Allen's costly mistake early in the third gave the U.S. at 5-3 lead at 6:23. The puck bobbled out in front of the Canadian goalie as he tried to glove it. Stepan caught Canada's defence flat footed and raced in to bang the puck in.
D'Amigo put the U.S. ahead for the third time in the game at 4:12. He finished a rush with a wrist shot that beat Allen high stick side.