Grimaldi stars as U.S. wins gold

Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Rocco Grimaldi scored back-to-back goals and linemate Vince Trocheck added an empty netter as the U.S. beat Sweden 3-1 to win the gold medal at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

Grimaldi was named the U.S. player of the game.

After hitting both posts on a first-period shot, Grimaldi scored from a bad angle and tipped a Jacob Trouba shot to lead the American comeback.

Grimaldi is the 12th UND player to win a gold medal at the event and the fifth American. For more, see the Herald’s site.

U.S. upsets Canada, will play for gold

Rocco Grimaldi and Team USA will play for gold at the World Junior Championship.

The Americans stunned Canada 5-1 in the semifinals early Thursday morning thanks to a pair of goals by Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe and Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau.

Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey also scored for Team USA, while John Gibson was once again outstanding in net, stopping 33 of 34 shots.

Grimaldi set McCabe up for the second goal, which ended up being the eventual game-winner.

The last UND player to win a gold medal at the World Juniors was Danny Kristo (gold) in 2010. Derek Forbort and Brock Nelson won bronze in 2011.

Last year, the U.S. flopped and finished seventh, but the Americans are back on track this year. After dropping back-to-back 2-1 games against Canada and Russia, the U.S. faced an elimination game against Slovakia. Since then, they have outscored three opponents by the combined score of 21-4.

The U.S. will try to win its third goal medal ever in the event at 7 a.m. Saturday morning against Sweden. The U.S. also won gold in 2004 and 2010.

For Canada, this was a deeply disappointing loss. The Canadians figured to have one of their best teams ever with the NHL lockout allowing them to have their NHL players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, the tournament ended with Canada suffering its most lopsided loss at the World Junior Championship since December 1997.

Americans crush Czechs; rematch vs. Canada set

Team USA hammered the Czech Republic 7-0 in the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championship, setting up a showdown and rematch against Canada at 3 a.m. Thursday morning.

Johnny Gaudreau had a hat trick, while defensemen Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones each had four assists.

Two days after sitting on the bench for an entire game, UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi returned to the lineup and was quite dynamic for the American squad. Grimaldi made plays on nearly every shift, highlighted by a steal and breakaway in the second period. His shot attempt was denied.

Grimaldi played on a line with Tyler Biggs and Vince Trocheck — a line that may stay in tact  against Canada because of their play against the Czechs.

As the game wore on, Grimaldi started to get power-play time and nearly stuffed one home in the third period.

U.S. falls to Canada, faces must-win vs. Slovakia

It comes down to this: The U.S. needs to beat Slovakia (4 a.m. Monday) or it will be sent to the relegation round for the second year in a row.

The Americans took favorite Canada to the limit early Sunday morning, but lost 2-1 after not being able to convert a late power-play chance.

The Americans also lost to Russia by the same score and the same circumstance two days earlier.

For a full story on the U.S.-Canada game, see the Herald website.

Slovakia won’t be a walk-over game for the U.S. The Slovaks took Russia to overtime and they were leading Canada 3-1 at the midway point of that game before losing 6-3.

Russia tops Americans 2-1

The U.S. dropped a tight pool play game against host Russia by the score of 2-1 on Friday morning.

The game could have gone either way — goaltending was very good on both sides — but Russia made one more play in the third period and came away with the key victory.

All possibilities are still out there for the Americans right now. They still could end up with a bye to the semifinals and they still could end up in relegation for the second year in a row.

If the U.S. loses to Canada at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, it will need to beat Slovakia to avoid relegation. Prior to the tournament, that seemed like a fairly easy task, but not anymore.

The Slovaks took Russia to overtime in their first game, then held a 3-1 lead midway through Friday’s game against Canada. The Canadians ended up winning 6-3, but Slovakia was impressive nonetheless (shots were 30-28 in that game).

So, there are two key games coming up for the Americans.

To read the game story on the U.S.-Russia contest, go here.

RUSSIA 2, USA 1

First period — 1. RUS, Albert Yarullin (Nikita Nesterov, Nail Yakupov) 2:42 (pp)
Second period — 2. USA, Jacob Trouba (Alex Galchenyuk) 13:18 (pp)
Third period — 3. RUS, Vladimir Tkachyov (Valeri Nichushkin, Artyom Sergeyev) 4:10
Goalie saves — USA: John Gibson 28; RUS: Andrei Marakov 41

Americans crush Germany in opener

Team USA used eight different goal-scorers en route to an 8-0 blowout win over Germany in the opener of the World Junior Championship.

UND’s Rocco Grimaldi had one assist and also had a highlight reel backcheck to break up a German breakaway late in the third period.

For a full game story, see GrandForksHerald.com.

The Americans will take on host Russia in a Group B showdown at 8 a.m. Friday.

USA 8, Germany 0

First period – 1. USA, Kuraly (Galchenyuk, Barber) :19; 2. USA, Trouba (Pietila) 8:30; 3. USA, Galchenyuk (Kuraly, Barber) 9:54

Second period – 4. USA, Barber (Galchenyuk) :14; 5. USA, Gostisbehere (Jones, Grimaldi) 6:33 (pp); 6. USA, Hartman (Pietila, Bardreau) 7:55

Third period – 7. USA, Miller 8:36; 8. USA, Jones  10:32

Goalie saves – USA: Gibson 19, Gillies 7; GER: Cupper 38

Grimaldi will make final roster

After Team USA’s 5-1 loss to Finland in the final exhibition game before the World Junior Championship, UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi posted on Twitter: “I was the worst player on the ice today. I did absolutely nothing and that is unacceptable. That CAN NOT and WILL NOT happen again.”

Even so, he will be on this year’s World Junior team as expected.

USA Hockey announced two cuts at 2 a.m. this morning — forward Stefan Matteau and defenseman Brady Skjei — and all that’s left is one more defensive cut (the U.S. is unsure yet if Connor Murphy will be able to go because of an injury situation).

Grimaldi has been playing right wing on the top line along with J.T. Miller and Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau.

Team USA’s first game is 8 a.m. Thursday against Germany.

Check out the latest roster here.

Grimaldi on initial WJC roster

UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi is one of 27 players named to the initial U.S. World Junior Championship roster.

Grimaldi will participate in a training camp from Dec. 16-18 in New York’s Madison Square Garden. An additional camp will be held in Helsinki, Finland and the final roster will be named Dec. 23.

The World Juniors will be held in Ufa, Russia, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. That means if Grimaldi makes the final roster, which he is expected to, he will miss the Holy Cross series on Jan. 4-5.

Grimaldi was expected to be on the team a year ago but had to sit out because of a knee injury that sidelined him for basically the entire season.

The California native has 11 points in 14 college games.

UND freshman defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, who also was considered for the team, did not make the initial roster.

One time UND recruits J.T. Miller and Stefan Matteau also are on the initial roster.

College players on initial roster

Jon Gillies, goalie, Providence
Shayne Gostisbehere, defenseman, Union
Matt Grzelcyk, defenseman, Boston University
Jake McCabe, defenseman, Wisconsin
Mike Reilly, defenseman, Minnesota
Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota
Cole Bardreau, forward, Cornell
Riley Barber, forward, Miami
John Gaudreau, forward, Boston College
Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota
Sean Kuraly, forward, Miami
Mario Lucia, forward, Notre Dame
Blake Pietila, forward, Michigan Tech
Jim Vesey, forward, Harvard

Read the full roster here.

Americans take seventh at WJC

The World Junior Championship is over for the Americans.

There wasn’t a lot of drama this year as the U.S. stumbled through pool play and wound up in relegation for the first time since 1999. On Wednesday, the Americans edged Switzerland 2-1 to finish seventh in the event.

It definitely wasn’t the tournament that the Americans envisioned and not one that Derek Forbort envisioned, either. The UND sophomore was injured during pool play and missed the last three games for the U.S. Forbort is unlikely to play Saturday against Clarkson in Winnipeg.

St. Cloud State sophomore defenseman Kevin Gravel had the eventual game-winner for the U.S. against the Swiss late in the first period.

The tournament concludes today with Canada taking on Finland for the bronze and Sweden playing Russia for the gold.

It will be hard for any game to match Tuesday night’s semifinal between Canada and Russia, when the Russians stormed to a 6-1 lead with 11 minutes to go in the game, only to watch Canada bring it to 6-5 in a matter of minutes.