Team USA looks to bring home gold in the World Juniors Championship against defending champ Sweden. Puck drops at 7 AM Saturday morning.
Win or lose, Saturday morning, the US is guaranteed to win its 8th medal in WJC history and its 3rd in the last four years. With a win, Team USA will claim its third gold medal in the under 20 tournament. The first gold medal came in 2004, a team that featured future NHL All Stars Ryan Kesler, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Former Blackhawks James Wisniewski and Jake Dowell were part of that team as well. Also earning gold medals were current Chicago Wolves forward Brett Sterling and Chicago born goalie Al Montoya.
The Americans won their second gold medal in 2010 breaking Canada's run of five straight gold medals. Blackhawks prospect and current Rockford IceHog Jeremy Morin was on the 2010 team. A few members of this team have already made a splash in the NHL like John Carlson, Cam Fowler and Chris Kreider. Jordan Schroeder, the leading scorer for the Chicago Wolves, was also one of the 2010 gold medal winners.
The 2013 team has its share of NHL potential with Alex Galchenyuk, drafted 3rd last year by the Montreal Canadiens and Seth Jones who will be one of the top picks in this June's entry draft leading the way. Boston College forward John Gaudreau, who was drafted by the Calgary Flames, leads the team with 9 points (7 G, 2 A). Four of his seven goals have come on the power play. J.T. Miller, Galchenyuk and Jones all lead Team USA with 6 assists each. Goaltender John Gibson has been fantastic for the Americans. He has started all 6 games in the tournament and has a 4-2 record with a 1.42 GAA, a .954 save % with one shutout. His two losses where both 2-1 defeats to Russia and Canada respectively.
Sweden is going to win its 16th medal in WJC competition and also has a chance at its 3rd gold medal. Sweden won its first gold in 1981 and ended its long championship drought with gold last year. Sebastian Collberg and Victor Arvidsson lead this year's Swedish team with 4 goals each. Emil Molin, Mikael Vikstrand and Rickard Rakell all lead the Swedes with 4 assist apiece, Washington Capitals first round pick Filip Forsberg, no relation to Peter, has been impressive throughout the tournament as well. Niklas Lundstrom has had a great run between the pipes too, He is 3-0 with a 1.45 GAA and .946 save %.
Tomorrow morning's game will be shown live on the NHL Network or streamed live on NHL.com. Be sure to set your alarms for 7 AM. Or you can just DVR the game and stay off of Twitter until you watch it. America, fuck yeah!!