Team USA struck gold this morning at the 2013 World Junior Championship, defeating Sweden 3-1 in the gold medal game in Ufa, Russia. This is the third gold medal USA Hockey has earned at the WJC, and the second in the last four years. Team USA displayed strong defensive play and superb goaltending throughout the tournament, and they were able to break out offensively when it mattered most. Following back-to-back disappointing defeats to Russia and Canada in which they scored a combined two goals, Team USA peppered Slovakia with nine goals in a must-win preliminary round game. They then proceeded to defeat the Czech Republic 7-0 and Canada 5-1 to advance to today's championship game.
North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi was instrumental in today's golden victory, scoring two goals and buzzing all over the ice on virtually every shift in being named Team USA's Best Player of the Game. After being benched during preliminary round action for what the coaching staff deemed as selfish play, Grimaldi was a dynamo during medal round action as he was involved in the game-winning goals in both the semifinals and the finals. Over the course of the tournament, Grimaldi recorded two goals and two assists in the six games during which he appeared. He became the 12th University of North Dakota player to earn a gold medal at the WJC, and the 19th medalist overall.
Here is a sampling of video clips highlighting a few of Grimaldi's contributions to Team USA's triumphant excursion to Ufa:
Assist on Jake McCabe's Game-Winning Goal in the Semifinals:
Slick Drop Pass in the Slot For McCabe:
Ties the Gold Medal Game at One With a Sneaky Wrister:
Scores the Gold Medal Game-Winner Off a Deflection: