Chaz Lucius completed a hat-trick in extra time as the United States beat Sweden 8-7 in the wild bronze medal match on Thursday at the world junior hockey championship.
The Winnipeg Jets prospect scored in a three-for-three sudden death as he raced a backhand past Swedish goalkeeper Carl Lindbom.
Lindbom prevented an early chance from Lane Hutson, but the rebound wasn’t recognized until Lucius flooded in and won a game that saw the US, which lost to Canada 6-2 in Wednesday’s semi-finals, giving up many of the previous leads eventually prevailed.
“We weren’t really happy with the loss to Canada. But it was and as soon as we got out of the dressing room (Wednesday) we said: ‘You know what? We’ve got the medals (above) rope ),” said US captain Luke Hughes.
“It’s really important for USA Hockey. It’s really important for us as a team. We’ve all gathered together and just focused on playing 60 minutes. and let it all go.”
Cutter Gauthier has two goals for the Americans, who have won medals in six of the last eight world youth tournaments. Logan Cooley, Ryan Ufko and Hughes also scored.
“It’s not a game we want to be in,” Lucius said. “But overall it was a really memorable experience.”
Filip Bystedt scored twice, including one that sealed the score with 21 seconds remaining and an assist for Sweden. Oskar Pettersson, Leo Carlsson, Milton Oscarson, Liam Ohgren and Noah Ostlund scored other goals for Sweden.
It was a heartbreaking second extra-time defeat for the Swedes in days in Halifax after a 2-1 semi-final loss to Czechia on Wednesday.
Kaidan Mbereko scored the winning goal for the US after saving 14 of 16 shots in the third and extra time. He replaced Trey Augustine, who scored five goals from 20 shots in the first 40 minutes.
Lindbom made 28 saves from 36 shots.
Cooley opened the scoring after less than three minutes of the game. It was the tournament’s seventh goal for the Arizona Coyotes’ third overall pick at the 2022 NHL draft.
A low-scoring first half gave way to a chaotic second half that saw the United States take a two-goal lead three times only to end the half in a 5–5 draw.
Ufko gave the Americans a 2-0 lead with a powerful goal in the first two minutes of the half before Bystedt put Sweden ahead less than two minutes later.
Lucius, with his first goal of the game, restored a two-goal lead for the Americans until Sweden equalized with goals just over two minutes apart from Pettersson and Carlsson.
Once again, the Americans took the lead thanks to goals from Gauthier and Lucius. But the Swedes responded with another quick match when Oscarson and Ohgren scored in the final seconds of the half.
Ostlund scored in the third minute to give Sweden a 6-5 lead, but the Swede’s lone lead in the game lasted only 4 minutes and 17 seconds. After being knocked down on the ice, Hughes shoved the ball into the net with his knee and beat the surprised Lindbom.
“We didn’t lose this game,” Hughes shouted at the players on the US bench as they celebrated the goal.
Gauthier appeared to have won the game with a powerhouse goal 97 seconds from the end of allotted time when he shoved the ball under a sprawling Lindbom.
The target persisted after a lengthy review, much to the relief of Americans. The United States had two disallowed goals in the semi-final defeat to Canada 6-2 on Wednesday.
The Swedes will not go quietly. Bystedt overtook Mbereko with 21 seconds left as the United States took the lead for the third time in the game.
American forward Tyler Boucher missed the game due to injury and was replaced by Noah Laba.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 5, 2023.