With under 10 minutes to go in the third period, it looked like Team USA was on their way. But the Finns, who never say die, would not go quietly. Two goals in the final 10 minutes erased a two-goal lead for the US and overtime was threatening.
Instead, Arthur Kaliyev scored with 1:16 remaining to give the US the 4-3 lead. Overtime not required. The US held on from there and advanced to the Gold Medal Game, which will take place on Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. where they will face Team Canada.
Team USA opened the scoring at 12:39 of the first period with Alex Turcotte sliding a chance past the pad of Kari Piiroinen to make it 1-0. On a power play minutes later, Finland answered back with a nice passing play capped off by Kasper Simontaival.
It took until late in the second for either team to get the edge. The US had to kill off two penalties following the tying goal by the Finns. They held off the charge and started to swarm in the final five minutes of the period.
It started with a stretch pass up the middle from Jackson Lacombe to John Farinacci. On a breakaway, Farinacci beat Piiroinen to give the US the lead back with 4:07 to play in the period.
Less than a minute later, Aku Raty took a double-minor for high-sticking, putting the US on the power play for the remainder of the period barring any scoring. It took just 39 seconds for the US power play to execute on a perfect passing play with Cole Caufield setting up Trevor Zegras in the high slot for a shot-pass to the front of the net that was tipped in by Matthew Boldy. With three minutes to play in the second, USA had opened up a 3-1 lead.
For most of the period, the US survived the Finnish push, getting a few chances of their own and killing off a delay of game penalty. With 8:22 to play, the Finns got back into it with another goal from Simontaival off a defensive breakdown, making it 3-2.
Another delay of game penalty put the US down shorthanded with 4:42 to play. It took Finland 59 seconds to capitalize. Roni Hirvonen, the hero from the Finns Quarterfinal win over Sweden, scored on a shot that leaked through Spencer Knight to tie the game at three with 3:43 remaining.
Just as it appeared overtime was destined for this game, Team USA got the top line on the ice and made a play. Turcotte was able to set up Kaliyev in the slot and he fired a shot high over the glove of Piiroinen to give USA the lead with 1:16 to play.
From the Flyers side of things, there wasn’t much in terms of statistics. Cam York played 21:51 in the game, once again leading the team, and had been on the ice for two of the first three US goals. He was also on the ice for both goals against the US in the third, finishing with an even rating. Bobby Brink had one shot on goal in 11:18 of ice time.
York was also named one of Team USA’s three best players in the tournament following the game.
In the earlier Semi-final game, Team Canada continued their dominance in the tournament, striking early and often in a 5-0 win over Team Russia.
That sets the stage for the final day of the World Junior Championships on Tuesday. Finland and Russia will face off first in the Bronze Medal Game at 5:30 p.m. Then the main event will take place at 9:30 p.m. with Team USA and Team Canada meeting in the Gold Medal Game.