The United States will again not win gold medals in back-to-back years at the IIHF World Junior Championship. The U.S. fell to Sweden, 4-2, on Thursday in the first WJC semifinal in Buffalo.
The U.S trailed, 1-0, after two periods of play, and then surrendered three more goals in the third period before Kiefer Bellows (Boston University) and Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) scored for the Americans. Joe Woll (Boston College) took the loss in net, surrendering all four Swedish goals, before being replaced by Jake Oettinger (Boston University) with 11:35 remaining in regulation. The U.S. outshot Sweden, 31-20, on the afternoon.
The U.S. will attempt to salvage its 2018 WJC tournament run with a bronze medal on Friday at 4 p.m. ET (NHL Network) in the third-place game against the Czech Republic, which dropped the late semifinal game Thursday to Canada by a 7-2 count. Cale Makar (Massachusetts) set up two goals for the Canadians.
A win on Friday would garner the sixth WJC bronze medal ever for the U.S., which defeated host Canada in a shootout last year to win gold.