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Grimaldi's pair has U.S. up 2-1 after two periods

by Mike G. Morreale

Rocco Grimaldi made his presence felt for the United States at the most important time at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

It happened in the second period of the gold-medal game against defending champion Sweden in Ufa, Russia, on Saturday.

Grimaldi, who was dropped from the first line to the fourth line four games ago, scored a pair of second-period goals to rally the Americans to a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of action at Ufa Arena.

Grimaldi's second of the game came off a tip in the slot. Jacob Trouba fired a rocket from the right point that Grimaldi deftly deflected past Swedish goalie Niklas Lundstrom 10:27 into the period to give the United States its first lead.

The Swedes came close to squaring the contest while shorthanded when Anaheim Ducks prospect William Karlsson broke in on United States goalie John Gibson off a turnover, but was denied with less than five minutes left in the second.

The United States pulled into a 1-1 tie 7:42 into the second when Grimaldi connected for his first of the tournament on a great individual effort. The Florida Panthers prospect raced to a loose puck behind Sweden's net before skating out beyond the left post and firing a shot that skittered over Lundstrom's right pad before dropping over the line.

The goals came after Grimaldi had hit both goalposts on a scoring chance with 7:40 left in the first period.

Both goalies have performed well -- Gibson has 16 saves while Lundstrom has made 19 saves.

Sweden opened a 1-0 edge 1:09 into the second on Filip Sandberg's second goal of the tournament. While working its second power-play of the game, Trouba attempted to swat the puck out of the zone from the right corner but the Swedes picked it up and Sandberg found the puck between the circles in prime scoring position.

His quick wrist shot beat Gibson on his glove side just under the crossbar.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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