UFA, Russia -- North Dakota freshman Rocco Grimaldi scored the game-tying and game-winning goals, lifting the United States to a 3-1 victory over Sweden today in the gold medal game at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship.
Grimaldi, who was named the player of the game for Team USA, became UND's 19th medalist at the World Junior Championship and the 12th to win gold. It also marked the fourth straight year UND has produced a medalist at the tournament.
Grimaldi, a Rossmoor, Calif., native, scored twice less than three minutes apart in the second period to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 U.S. lead. He scored from a difficult angle along the goal line to tie the game at 7:41 of the middle frame, then notched the eventual game-winner by deflecting a point shot at 10:27.
The goals were the first of the tournament for Grimaldi, who finished with two goals and two assists in seven games and was a +4 despite not seeing the ice in the team's 9-3 win over Slovakia to close out the preliminary round.
"He played unbelievable these last three games," said Team USA head coach Phil Housley. "My hat goes off to him because he took it the right way and he proved how good of a player he was."
"He's a player who does everything and it was nice for him to get going, especially in the last game. It meant a lot for him," said Team USA goalie and tournament MVP John Gibson.
The gold medal was the third for the United States, which also won the 2004 and 2010 tournaments.
Grimaldi will return to UND this week and is expected to be in the lineup next weekend when UND hosts Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) rival Colorado College on Friday and Saturday.
|UND’s World Junior Championship Medalists|
|1992||Marty Schriner||United States||Bronze|
|2004||Brady Murray||United States||Gold|
|Zach Parise*||United States||Gold|
|Drew Stafford||United States||Gold|
|Taylor Chorney||United States||Bronze|
|Brian Lee||United States||Bronze|
|2010||Danny Kristo||United States||Gold|
|2011||Derek Forbort||United States||Bronze|
|Brock Nelson||United States||Bronze|
|2012||Rocco Grimaldi||United States||Gold|
|* - Indicates tournament MVP|
USAHockey.com: U.S. National Junior Team Wins Gold Medal
United States Of Hockey: Rapid Reaction
Yahoo Sports: Team USA Takes Gold
The Rat Trick: Grimaldi Leads USA Past Sweden In Championship Game
Hockey Buzz: Grimaldi: From Zero to USA Hero
SI.com: Team USA Caps Stellar Run With Gold at World Juniors
The Sporting News: US Wins Behind John Gibson, Rocco Grimaldi