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THN at the World Junior Championship: Sweden no match for USA's speed in semifinal

Jerry D'Amigo of Team USA celebrates his third period goal with goalie Mike Lee during the semifinal against Team Sweden. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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Jerry D'Amigo of Team USA celebrates his third period goal with goalie Mike Lee during the semifinal against Team Sweden. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

SASKATOON – It will be an all-North American final thanks to a speedy, plucky Team USA victory over the Swedes in Sunday’s second semifinal.

Led by right winger Jerry D’Amigo’s two goals, the U.S. upset the previously undefeated Swedes 5-2 with a mixture of speed and discipline and will get a rematch with Canada in the tourney finale.

Along with the offense, D’Amigo was also noteworthy for being on the wrong end of a huge elbow from Swedish captain Marcus Johansson at the start of the third period. With the game tied 2-2, Johansson was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. The Washington Capitals pick watched the remainder of the game from the media seats and was stoic as his team fell apart in the final frame.

Defenseman John Carlson gave the U.S. the lead when Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom couldn’t quite squeeze the Capitals prospect’s point shot. A shorthanded goal by D’Amigo iced the game shortly thereafter.

Despite playing the day before while Sweden rested, the Americans had a lot of jump early on and forced three straight penalties on Swedish defensemen.

“We definitely wanted to get down on their defense and play in the offensive zone,” said left winger Jason Zucker. “We know they’re a very skilled team, they have a lot of guys who can threaten in the offensive zone.”

Even though he didn’t lead on the scoresheet, center Ryan Bourque had a very good game for the Americans, blocking shots and playing physical, despite being known more for his offensive gifts.

“I felt I had a really solid game,” Bourque said. “Your team needs you to step up in many ways, whether it’s scoring goals, getting assists or blocking shots and getting pucks deep.”

For the Swedes, center Anton Lander had an outstanding effort. The Edmonton Oilers draft pick had both goals for the Tre Kroner, killed penalties and forechecked well. Vancouver prospect Anton Rodin assisted on both Lander goals, while Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder Oliver Ekman-Larsson was very smooth from the blueline.

But needless to say, it was the Americans’ night and quickness was the hallmark.

“Speed kills, especially in these tournaments,” Carlson said.

The game was very physical with the Swedes often the aggressors. In one ironic collision, defenseman Carl Klingberg came very close to destroying U.S. right winger Jeremy Morin, who ducked at the last moment. Both players were drafted by Atlanta last year.

Related Links

All North American final at 2010 WJC
The semifinals are in the books at the 2010 WJC in Saskatoon. Sunday night in semifinal action, Team Canada brought the Swiss back to earth with a 6-1 shellacking, while the U.S. used their speed and finesse to fly past Sweden 5-2, once again led by Jerry D’Amigo’s two goals. The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy caught up with the victors as they reveled in their triumph and switched their focus to the gold medal game.

Ryan Kennedy is in Saskatoon for the World Junior Championship and will be filing daily reports through to the end of the tournament.

Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Monday and Wednesday, his column - The Straight Edge - every Friday, and his prospect feature, The Hot List appears Tuesdays. 

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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