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The Boys Of Winter: Team USA Pulls Off Comeback To Take Down Finland, And Now Have A Date Against Sweden Tomorrow For World Juniors Gold


Who: USA vs Finland

What: World Juniors Semifinals

When: 1:30pm EST

Where: Gothenburg, Sweden // NHL Network

Why: Because USA Hockey is Do Or Die


Tale of the Tape:

Team USA has been shit kicking damn near everybody at this tournament so far. They had to grind out an overtime win against the Czechs last week. But other than that, they haven't had to break a sweat at all. It took them a little while to get going against Norway, but they were never going to lose that game. They beat the brakes off of Switzerland. They pummeled the shit out of Slovakia. They just boat raced Latvia in the quarterfinals. They've outscored their opponents 36-11 so far. 

Finland got worked over by Canada in the opening game of their tournament, and then lost to Germany for the first time ever. They were 0-2 staring down another potential trip to the relegation round at this tournament. But they picked up a big win in the shootout against Sweden, and then took out Slovakia in overtime in the quarterfinals. 

Something a lot of people forget is that Team USA didn't necessarily win the gold medal when they beat the Soviets during the Miracle On Ice. They still had another game to play against Finland in that tournament before locking up gold. Would everybody have still remembered the US beating the Soviets in 1980 if it weren't capped off with a gold medal? I'm sure. But it wouldn't be nearly as historic without the storybook ending. 

This is one of the most loaded US rosters we've ever seen at the World Juniors. Multiple top 10 NHL draft picks. They have the tournament leaders in points, goals, and assists. They've outscored their opponents by 25 goals, and haven't lost a game yet. But in order for this team to be remembered forever, they need to finish the job. So here we are yet again with Finland standing in the way of a US hockey team getting their storybook ending. It'll be a tight game, no doubt about it. The Finns are pesky and they won't go away easy. But my guess is that history repeats itself today, and Team USA will be playing for gold tomorrow. 

So with that all said…let's get this live blog activated. 

End of the 1st: USA 0 -- Finland 2

Ahh shit. Brutal start to the game featuring a brutal turnover right in front of the net, and Finland puts away a greasy one to take an early lead. 

This US team is lethal enough to spot the Finns 1 goal to start the game, but that better be the only wake up call they need today. 

Aaaaand turns out it wasn't. USA gets a little too soft battling for loose pucks in their own zone again, give Finland another chance to just get pucks on net, and somehow this one manages to sneak through Trey Augustine to make it 2-0 Finland. Fuck. 

Hard for the first 20 to go any worse than that. But all the boys need is to just get one on the board early in the 2nd to make this a game again. 

End of the 2nd: USA 2 -- Finland 2

It took a little while but the boys finally have some life thanks to this absolute piss missile from Jimmy Snuggerud (STL '22, 1st rd) on the powerplay. 

What a bomb. My goodness. And what a massive goal. I don't know if this team would have the juice to overcome a 3-goal deficit in this game. But now that it's just a 1-goal game? The fellas can start to heat up here. 

And just like that, we have a brand new hockey game. The BC Line does the damn thing again. This line of Gabe Perreault (NYR '23, 1st rd), Ryan Leonard (WSH '23, 1st rd) and Will Smith (SJS '23, 1st rd) has been insane all tournament long. They had a rough 1st period, but the boys put together one of the most dominant shifts of the game here to tie the game at 2. 

Tie ballgame with one period left to go. Team USA dominated the shit out of that period, and have all the juice heading into the 3rd. Time to deliver some daggers. 

3rd Period Updates: USA 3 -- Finland 2 

For the most part today, the refs have been letting everything go. Americans have been getting whacked in the face with sticks all afternoon. But the refs finally decided to try out their whistles in the 3rd period and hooked the Americans up with a pretty weak call to put them on the powerplay. But that's hockey, baby. Bad calls are all a part of the game. And on the powerplay, it was who else but Cutter Gauthier (PHI '22, 1st rd) to release one of the crispiest snipes of the tournament to give USA their first lead of the game. 

That is one sick shot from one sick puppy. 

The refs did their best to even this thing up by giving Finland a powerplay right after this. But Trey Augustine (DET '23, 2nd rd) locked that shit down between the pipes and the boys were able to hold off the Finns just long enough for the win. What a game. What a win. What a hockey team.