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World Juniors Update: US Falls to Finland in Gold Medal Game

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Gold Medal Game at the World Juniors in recent years has delivered close and excited matches and this year's was no different. Unfortunately for the four Flyers prospects, they came up just a bit short. 

A goal by Finland with 1:26 remaining broke a 2-2 tie and lifted Finland to the gold medal. The US claimed the silver medal.

After a scoreless first period, Finland finally struck for the game's first goal just past the halfway point of the game. Jesse Ylonen fired a shot from long range through traffic that beat Cayden Primeau to give the Finns the lead.

Six minutes into the third, the Finns padded the lead with Otto Latvala firing through a screen to make it 2-0, putting the US on its heels. To that point, it had been a tight-checking game and the US had been limited by the Finns with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen handling everything that came his way. It was setting up to be an uphill battle for the US.

In just 2:47, the US found a way to pull even. First, Sasha Chmelevski cut the lead to one, finishing off a great feed from 2019 projected first overall pick Jack Hughes. Flyers prospect Noah Cates had the secondary assist. Hughes set up Josh Norris just 1:46 later to tie the game. Cates also assisted on that goal.

That set the stage for a battle late into regulation with a 20-minute overtime and possible shootout looming. But with 1:26 remaining, the Finns picked up the goal that would give them gold. Out of a net-mouth scramble, Kaapo Kakko, a 2019 projected Top 5 draft pick, was there to lift a backhander over Primeau to put the Finns in front. The US was not able to get the game tied in the closing seconds.

Cates finished with a pair of assists and was a plus-2 in 12:34 of ice time. Joel Farabee had one shot and a minus-1 in 19:09 of ice time. Jay O'Brien was once again the 13th forward and did not see ice time for the third straight game and Jack St. Ivany was the seventh defenseman and did not play either.

Farabee finished the tournament with three goals and two assists for five points in seven games. Cates had one goal and two assists for three points in seven games. O'Brien and St. Ivany each did not have any points in seven games with limited playing time.

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