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USA Beats Sweden 3-2 in OT as World Junior Championship Tune-Up

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Sweden’s captain Filip Forsberg and his team fell in overtime to Team USA. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Shayne Gostisbehere hadn’t contributed much in the regular 60 minutes of Team USA’s game against Team Sweden, their first tune-up before making final roster decisions for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. He’d taken two penalties, notched no points and really needed to prove his worth to the people who could eventually decide to send him home before the tournament begins.

So, about a minute and a half into overtime with the game tied at two, Gostisbehere scored.

Connor Murphy and Ryan Hartman scored, the two teams played a fully scoreless third and Jim Vesey won USA’s Best Player of the Game award in the 3-2 overtime win.

Murphy was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2011 and spent two years with the U.S. National Team Development Program before joining the OHL Sarnia Sting in 2011-12. This season so far, he has 18 points to his name.

Hartman is also a USNTDP alumnus who took the OHL path after his two years in the program. He is now with the Plymouth Whalers and has 29 points so far this season. He will be draft-eligible in 2013.

Vesey, who is also sometimes referred to as Jimmy Vesey, was picked by the Nashville Predators in this year’s draft. He played for a year with an Eastern Junior Hockey League team and is now with Harvard University. During his year with the EJHL South Shore Kings, he put up an astonishing 91 points in 45 games played, almost evenly split between goals and assists.

As for Gostisbehere, the Florida native and Philadelphia Flyers‘ draft selection from 2012 is in his second year of playing with Union College. He has 13 points in 15 games played this season.

Other USA teammates who stood out in this tune-up game include Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens 2012), Brady Skjei (New York Rangers 2012) and Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers 2012).

On the other side of the ice were players like first-round 2012 draft picks Filip Forsberg (Washington Capitals) and Hampus Lindholm (Anaheim Ducks).

Sweden won the gold at last year’s World Junior Championship.

Team USA flew over to Finland for this tune-up game after a three-day training camp in Tarrytown, N.Y. Some of the players found that their equipment hadn’t followed them all the way there, including two of the goalies. Matt Grzelcyk (Boston Bruins 2012), Murphy and Cole Bardreau (undrafted) were all missing pieces of equipment and couldn’t participate in an evening practice before the game.

Next up for Team USA–hopefully with everyone’s gear intact this time–is a showdown against Finland on Dec. 22 in the Helsinki Ice Hall, the home of the team HIFK in the Finnish league.

This game will be rebroadcast on NHL Network at 8 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Dec. 21 and 4 a.m. Dec. 22.

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