United States survive scare from Finland to advance to World Juniors final
Cutter Gauthier was the hero as the United States defeated Finland 3-2 in the World Juniors semifinals on Thursday to advance to the gold-medal game.
The victory sets up a battle between the Americans and Sweden for the championship. The tournament hosts booked their place in the final with a victory over Czechia in the first semifinal.
After the game, winning-goal scorer Gauthier was already looking forward to getting on the ice against Sweden.
"Oh yeah, they’re our rivals," said Gauthier. "We lost to those guys two years ago at U-18 Worlds and we remember it like yesterday. They stripped a gold medal from our necks. We’ll be ready to go and we’ll give them everything we got."
Gauthier broke the tie with Finland on the power play with just over three minutes remaining in the third period with forward Kasper Kulonummi in the box for hooking.
Jimmy Snuggerud and Will Smith also recorded goals for the United States.
Trey Augustine picked up the win, stopping 18 of 20 shots while Niklas Kokko takes the loss after making 27 saves.
Augustine was also in net for the U-18 Worlds loss to Sweden in 2022 and says he's looking forward to redemption in the final.
"You remember the disappointment, how you never get games like that back," said Augustine. "Honestly, it’s one of my biggest regrets in life, so looking at it as an opportunity to make amends."
Finland received goals from forwards Oiva Keskinen and Rasmus Kumpulainen in the loss.