Buffalo Sabres prospects Noah Ostlund and Anton Wahlberg earned silver medals with Sweden at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship on Friday while Jiri Kulich secured bronze with Czechia.

Sweden fell in the championship game as the United States scored three unanswered goals in the third period en route to a 6-2 win to take home the gold.

Ostlund, who was named Sweden’s Player of the Game with one assist, three shots, and 10 shot attempts, helped set up Sweden’s second goal of the game to cut the deficit to 3-2 heading into the locker room at the second intermission.

Seamus Casey went to the box for the Americans, giving Sweden a power play with under a minute to go in the second. Ostlund passed to Axel Sandin Pellikka, who fed Jonathan Lekkerimaki at the point while Wahlberg was setting a screen in front to bring Sweden within one.

The U.S. closed things out in the third in a physical period that featured nine penalties, including four 10-minute penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct in the final 30 seconds of the game. Ostlund was assessed a two-minute penalty for roughing along with a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Ostlund led all forwards in the gold medal game with 21:10 of ice time while Wahlberg skated 20:04.

Ostlund paced Sweden with 10 points (3+7) in seven games during the tournament, including two points (1+1) in Sweden’s 5-2 semifinal victory over Czechia on Thursday.

Wahlberg finished with three points (1+2) in seven games, recording the game-winning goal in the team’s 6-0 win against Latvia on Dec. 26 to open tournament play.

In the bronze medal game, Czechia entered the third period down 5-3 before Kulich led the comeback, tallying a goal and two assists in the third to ignite the 8-5 come-from-behind victory.  

Kulich skated 20:16, recording two goals and two assists for four points and adding eight shots as the team captain was named Czechia’s Player of the Game.  

His first tally of the contest came after Finland’s Emil Pieniniemi was assessed a tripping penalty to give Czechia a power play with less than four minutes to go in the first. Kulich capitalized seven seconds into the power play as he received a pass from Matyas Melovsky and buried a one-timer from the right faceoff dot to put the Czechs on the board.

After going down 5-3 at the end of the second, Kulich opened the scoring in the third, ripping a one-timer from above the right circle to cut the deficit to 5-4 with his third power-play goal of the tournament.

The Rochester Americans forward didn’t stop there as he recorded the primary assist on both the game-tying and game-winning goals 15 seconds apart to give the Czechs the lead.

Czechia pulled the goalie for the extra attacker as the group was down by one with two minutes to go. Kulich fired a shot from his spot in the right circle before Ondrej Becher put away the rebound in front of the net to tie the score at 5-5.

The Czechs took the lead after winning an offensive-zone faceoff. Kulich fed Tomas Hamara at the point for the go-ahead goal with 1:41 to go before Czechia tacked on two empty-net tallies just two seconds apart to secure the 8-5 win.

The final four goals of the game were scored in a span of 50 seconds, which were the fastest four goals in World Juniors history.

Kulich finished the tournament tied for a tournament-best 12 points (6+6) in seven games, including two game-winning goals while recording 34 shots and a plus-3 rating.

Following the gold medal game, Kulich was named to the tournament's Media All-Star Team for his performance.

The Sabres had four additional prospects participate in the World Junior Championship: defenseman Maxim Strbak for Slovakia, forward Matt Savoie and goaltender Scott Ratzlaff for Canada, and defenseman Norwin Panocha for Germany. Here's a recap of each player's tournament.

Maxim Strbak, RHD – Slovakia

Strbak put together a stellar performance for Team Slovakia, tallying one goal and six assists for seven points in five games.

Slovakia defeated Czechia 6-2 to open the World Junior Championship on Dec. 26 as Strbak recorded a goal and an assist and a team-best five shots while skating 23:32 in the victory.

Strbak continued his production in an 8-4 win over Norway on Dec. 29. He posted three assists and four shots while skating 22:36 for six points (1+5) in his first three games of the tournament.

Matt Savoie, F – Canada

Savoie tallied one assist in four games for Canada as the forward missed the team’s game against Germany on Sunday with a lower-body injury.

He finished with nine shots in the tournament as Canada fell to Czechia in the quarterfinal round.

Scott Ratzlaff, G – Canada

Ratzlaff made the roster as an underaged player at 18 years old but did not dress for Canada as the youngest of the team’s three goalies. He will have an opportunity to start for Team Canada next year. 

“He played really well in the camp and earned a spot on the team. For an 18-year-old to go out there and do that says a lot,” Sabres director of player development Adam Mair said.

Norwin Panocha, LHD – Germany

Panocha made Team Germany as an 18-year-old, recording one goal and averaging over 15 minutes of ice time in five games.

In Germany’s loss to Latvia, the defenseman jumped into the play and ripped a shot from the left circle for his first goal of the World Juniors.

Panocha skated 20:46 in Germany’s 5-4 overtime win over Norway in the relegation game on Thursday to help secure the squad’s spot in the 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship.