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U.S. beats Sweden in overtime in exhibition game

by Adam Kimelman

The U.S. national junior team started its European excursion on a positive note.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the United States a 3-2 victory in its exhibition game against Sweden.

Connor Murphy and Ryan Hartman also scored for the United States as it prepares to improve on last year's seventh-place finish when it arrives in Ufa, Russia for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. The U.S. team opens tournament play Dec. 27 against Germany.

Emil Molin and Rickard Rakell scored for Sweden.

The game was tied 2-2 after two periods, and went to overtime after a scoreless third. Early in the extra session, Sean Kuraly won an offensive zone faceoff back to Gostisbehere at the point, and his shot eluded Sweden goalie Niklas Lundstrom for the winner.

Each team had chances to win the game in the third as a steady march to the penalty box provided a total of seven power plays in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Sweden had three power plays in the third, including one at 17:16 after the United States was called for too many men on the ice, but halfway through that man-advantage, Sweden took a penalty of its own, giving the United States a 44-second power play to end regulation. It was the fourth power play of the period for the Americans.

"Overall, I think our special teams did a great job tonight," U.S. coach Phil Housley said. "We got an early goal on the power play, which got us settled in. Also our penalty killing was extraordinary, especially on the two extended 5-on-3s. The guys played hard, were competitive and played with tempo. Also, we wanted to see the guys we have to make decisions on and I believe we were able to do that."

The United States will play one more exhibition game prior to the start of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, Sunday against Finland (6 a.m. ET, NHL Network-U.S.). After the game against Finland, the U.S. team will make its final cuts and set its 23-man roster for the tournament.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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