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USA wins bronze in Junior A Challenge

by Mike G. Morreale
Zane Gothberg turned aside 23 shots, while Austin Cangelosi and Tony Cameranesi each had a goal and one assist Saturday as the U.S. Junior Select Team earned a 4-0 victory against Sweden in the bronze medal game of the 2011 World Junior A Challenge in Langley, B.C.
Gothberg, drafted in the sixth round (No. 165) by the Boston Bruins in 2010, made eight saves in both the second and third periods. The U.S. team held the Swedes without a goal despite handing them five power-play opportunities in the game. Gothberg, currently starring for the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League, will play for North Dakota next fall.
With the win, Team USA earned a top-three finish for the fifth straight year, including gold medals in 2008, '09 and '10. The U.S. also avenged a 1-0 loss to Sweden in a preliminary-round game earlier this week when goalie Oscar Dansk turned aside 44 shots. In two starts in this tournament, Dansk (2012 draft eligible) sported a 0.98 goals-against average and .971 save percentage.
"I'm happy with the way our guys responded after a tough game [in a 4-2 loss to Canada East on Friday]," U.S. coach Regg Simon said. "We concentrated on our offensive zone possession and really pushed the tempo."
Mario Lucia (Minnesota Wild) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead on his fourth goal of the tournament 14:28 into the first period. Lucia gathered a drop pass from Sean Kuraly (San Jose Sharks) in the high slot before firing a shot past Sweden's Mathias Israelsson (2012 eligible).
Kuraly and Lucia each lead the tournament with four goals apiece. Kuraly and Devin Shore of Canada East each lead the tournament with six points apiece. Canada East plays Canada West in the gold medal game Sunday in Langley.
Cangelosi (2012 eligible) extended the lead to 2-0 on a goal 1:22 into the second before Cameranesi (Toronto Maple Leafs) connected at 8:31 for a 3-0 cushion.
Kuraly then tallied his second point of the night with a goal from the high slot at 16:31 to close out the scoring in the third for Team USA, which outshot the Swedes, 33-23. Despite the loss, Sweden earned its best finish at the tournament -- it finished sixth in 2009 before placing fifth last year.
In the fifth-place game, Alexander Barabanov's goal 9:15 into the second proved to be the difference when the Russians scored a 3-2 victory against the Czech Republic. Bogdan Yakimov (2012 eligible) and Daniil Yuryshev (2012 eligible) also scored goals for Russia, which opened a 3-0 advantage while outshooting the Czechs, 27-17, through two periods.
Matej Zadrazil (2012 eligible) then scored goals in a span of 2:15 early in the third to pull Czech Republic within 3-2. Russian goalie Ivan Nalimov (2012 eligible) would make 15 of his 32 saves in the third to earn the victory. Czech goalie counterpart Marek Langhamer (2012 eligible) halted 29 shots.
The Czechs, who scored a 4-3 preliminary-round win against the Russians earlier in the week, finish in sixth place.
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