Sweden knocks off U.S. to advance to World Junior Championship final

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A three-goal third period powered Sweden by the United States 4-2 Thursday afternoon to advance to the final of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The gold medal game will take place Friday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo with Sweden meeting the winner of Canada and the Czech Republic.

Things were goalless until midway through the second period when Elias Pettersson, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, scored his fifth of the tournament after patiently waiting for a screen in front of U.S. goaltender Joseph Woll.

The Americans had a glorious opportunity to tie the game but blew a 3-on-0 chance, which ended with Kieffer Bellows taking a goalie interference penalty.

That blown chance allowed for the Swedes to open the floodgates in the third period and put the game out of reach.

After Sweden killed off a U.S. power play, New York Rangers draft pick Lias Andersson increased their lead to 2-0 with his sixth of the tournament following a nice give-and-go with Fredrik Karlstrom.

The air quickly came out of the balloon soon after when Oskar Steen and Axel Jonsson Fjallby scored shorthanded goals on the same power play to up their lead to 4-0. The Americans cut the deficit in half with two goals late in the third period, but their attempt at a rally ran out of time.

Before Friday’s final, the Americans will meet the loser of the Canada/Czech Republic semifinal for bronze, a medal the U.S. last claimed in 2016. Sweden, meanwhile, will be looking to win gold for the first time since 2012 when Mika Zibanejad was the overtime hero against Russia.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.