Ron Wilson, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team, and whoever seems to put together his international teams have long made interesting roster and personnel decisions over the years, and this year's American team was looked at as the Gold Medal favorite.
Russia once again snatched away their dreams of the ultimate prize.
After losing to Russia for the second year in a row, the United States reached the podium by securing an 8-3 win in Helsinki and a Bronze Medal, a nice consolation prize.
Zach Werenski, the team's captain, was the highest-scoring defenseman in the tournament, posting 9 points and 2 goals in 7 games played. He was named as the tournament's top defenseman by the IIHF Directorate.
The U.S. finished the tournament with a 5-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record, and has medaled in four of the last seven years. "After a tough loss less than 24 hours ago, to come back and finish with a win and the bronze medal is a terrific accomplishment," said Wilson to USA Hockey. "It was a total team effort and I couldn't be more proud of our guys."
The United States was second overall in goals scored in the tournament, despite its weak powerplay (7th place with only 5 goals on 26 tries). The team saw the tournament's number-one-ranked goaltending led by some outstanding saves by Alex Nedeljkovic, along with the best penalty-killing in the tournament.
Despite some swirling rumors out of Columbus, Werenski is scheduled to rejoin the Wolverines in Ann Arbor for the remainder of his sophomore season under coach Red Berenson.