The United States defeated Sweden, 3-1, on Saturday, at the World Junior Championships, thus finishing Group A play with a 3-1-0 record, good for second place. That mark earns the U.S. a date in the quarterfinals on Tuesday with Canada, which finished third in Group B with a 2-1-1 record.
Rensselaer’s Marc Cavosie scored on a rebound just 2 minutes, 51 seconds into the game to put Team USA on top, before Sweden tied it at 8:07.
The game remained tied until Michigan’s Andy Hilbert scored Team USA’s second power-play goal of the game, on a wrist shot from above the faceoff circle. Providence’s Jon DiSalvatore, who has scored a goal in every game of the tournament, added an empty-netter with 53 seconds remaining to secure the win.
The U.S. outshot Sweden 36-17 in the victory. Goalie Rick DiPietro, who was chosen No. 1 overall in the June NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders after leaving Boston University, improved to 3-0 on the tournament.
Canada ended Group play with an 8-4 win over Switzerland, after previously defeating Belarus in the opener, 9-0. Canada also tied Finland, 2-2, and lost to Russia, 3-1. Michigan’s Mike Cammalleri had a hat trick in the win over Belarus. Cammalleri and Wisconsin’s Dany Heatley, the only other U.S. collegian on the Canadian roster, each scored against Switzerland.
Team USA also has a 9-1 win over Kazakhstan, a 7-2 win over Slovakia, and a 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic, the defending gold medallist and top seed in Group A. Highlights so far for the U.S. include a hat trick by Minnesota’s Jeff Taffe in the opener over Kazakhstan. Taffe added another goal against Slovakia. Also in that game, Hilbert and Ohio State’s R.J. Umberger scored twice each, and Cavosie also had a goal.
Last season, Team USA and Team Canada met twice at the World Junior Championship. The first game ended in a 1-1 tie in the preliminary round. Canada edged the U.S., 4-3, in a shootout in the bronze-medal game.
In 1997, the teams met for the gold medal in Switzerland, with Canada coming out on top. The silver medal was still the best-ever finish for the United States at the World Junior Championship.
The 1997 team was the first one coached by Jeff Jackson, the two-time NCAA champion coach with Lake Superior State. Jackson also ran the U.S. National Development Program, which began that year, but he was fired from both positions in May.
USA Hockey then decided to split the positions. Mike Eaves now currently runs the USNDP, while former Yale goalie Keith Allain was picked to coach the World Junior team. Current Yale coach Tim Taylor, and Minnesota-Duluth product Jim Johnson are assisting.
Other quarterfinal pairings will match the Czech Republic vs. Switzerland, Finland vs. Slovakia, and Russia vs. Sweden.