The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team topped Sweden in overtime, 4-3, here tonight to win the gold medal at the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's U18 Championship. Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio) had two goals, including the game-winner at 6:06 of the overtime period, and added an assist, as Team USA captured its third straight gold medal in the tournament.
The U.S. overcame a two-goal third-period deficit to send the game into overtime and eventually emerge with its sixth gold medal in tournament history (2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011).
"We knew how talented Sweden was from past tournaments," said Ron Rolston, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team. "This year, our players fought hard to come from behind and earn this gold medal."
Sweden jumped out to a quick lead with a goal at 3:24 of the first period. A late power play tally by Team USA's Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich.) tied the game, 1-1, however. Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio) and Trouba passed the puck inside the offensive zone before Trouba launched a shot through traffic for the marker.
Sweden took a 3-1 lead on tallies at 12:51 and 17:50 of the second period, but the U.S. responded in the third. Less than two minutes into the frame, Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) flipped the puck to Murphy at the top of the right faceoff circle, where he snapped a quick shot for the score. Then, with 1:29 left in regulation, Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge, Mich.) wired a shot past Sweden goalie Niklas Lundstrom to send the game into overtime tied, 3-3.
Just as a Sweden penalty expired six minutes into the extra frame, Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) skated the puck into the offensive zone before locating Murphy at the left point. Murphy's first wrist shot attempt was blocked, but his rebound slap shot found the net for the game-winning tally.
John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made 28 saves in the win for the U.S., while Lundstrom stopped 37 shots in the loss for Sweden.
NOTES: Connor Murphy was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... John Gibson received the directorate award as the tournament's best goaltender ... Gibson, J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio) and Robbie Russo were named Team USA's best three players ... Ron Rolston has guided the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team to three gold medals at the IIHF World Men's U18 Championship, the only head coach in U.S. history to do so ... The U.S. has captured a record eight consecutive medals at the IIHF World Men's U18 Championship, including three gold medals in a row (2009-2011), back-to-back gold medals in 2005-06, two silver medals (2004, 2007) and one bronze (2008). Team USA also captured the gold medal in 2002 ... Team USA's nine overall medals are most ever at the IIHF World Men's U18 Championship ... All 22 players on the 2011 U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team come from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. ... A full recap of Team USA at the 2011 IIHF World Men's U18 Championship, including game recaps, photos and videos, can be found on USAHockey.com and Facebook ... All 22 members of the 2011 U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team train with The Hockey IntelliGym, a revolutionary new software program released on October 1, 2010, that trains hockey sense. To learn more, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com.