(Gothenburg) GOTHENBURG, Sweden-The United States got the revenge it dreamed of.
Isaac Howard scored twice in the second period as the Americans beat Sweden 6-2 to win gold at the world junior hockey championship on Friday.
Gabe Perreault, with a goal and two assists, Zeev Buium, Ryan Leonard and Rutger McGroarty, in an empty net, were the other scorers for the Americans.
The United States won the under-20 tournament for a sixth time – their most recent title was in 2021.
“I’m so proud of our group,” said McGroarty, team captain and Winnipeg Jets prospect. We are the world champions. This is the pinnacle. »
Will Smith added two assists and Trey Augustine made 24 saves in the U.S. net.
“We didn’t want to take anything for granted,” Howard said.
Otto Stenberg and Jonathan Lekkerimaki responded for the Swedes, who have won just two titles in the event’s 48-year history. Hugo Havelid stopped 20 shots.
The Americans were booed as soon as they arrived on the ice, and they reveled in the atmosphere.
“Who doesn’t love playing the bad guy,” McGroarty said. It was a fantastic atmosphere. »
“It was a total team effort,” said head coach David Carle. I had never seen a crowd like that or felt energy like that. »
The United States lost 6-4 to Sweden at the 2022 Under-18 World Cup despite a 51-14 advantage in shots – Augustine and Havelid were also goaltenders.
The Swedes have finished second 12 times and lost to the United States in last year’s bronze medal match.
Many of the country’s players have excelled in the NHL, but this has rarely translated into junior international success.
“The guys are great,” said Lekkerimaki, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. It’s hard to swallow. »
“It was an honor to play on this team,” added captain Liam Ohgren. It’s very hard that the tournament ends like this. »
The Swedes’ last triumph came in 2012, after they won everything in 1981.
Sweden also settled for silver at home in 1993 and 2014.
The United States led 3-2 after 40 minutes after Lekkerimaki cut his team’s deficit in half late in the second period.
They restored a two-goal advantage at 1:19 of the third when Buium scored on a one-timer
The Swedes successfully sank a high-sticking double minor later in the period, but the Americans put the game out of reach at 16:12, when Leonard scored.
McGroarty sent the puck into an empty net 38 seconds later.
Tempers flared as a few players from both sides threw punches, but once the dust settled the United States was able to celebrate a third triumph since 2017.