Sweden will face the Canada-Czech Republic winner in the title game Friday night.
Elias Pettersson, Lias Andersson, Oskar Steen and Axel Jonsson Fjallby Scored for Sweden, the only unbeaten team in the tournament. Linus Lindstrom had two assists.
The U.S. was trying to become the first country to win back-to-back gold medals since Canada claimed five straight from 2005-09. The Americans have never won a gold medal on home ice.
Kieffer Bellows and Brady Tkachuk scored late goals for the U.S. after Sweden had built a 4-0 lead midway through the third period.
With the expected No. 1 pick in this year’s NHL draft, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, and several other top prospects on the roster, the Swedes believe they have the talent to claim their first gold medal since 2012. Sweden finished fourth each of the last three years after finishing second in 2013 and 2014.
The U.S. controlled the action for much of the first two periods before Pettersson’s power-play goal put Sweden ahead 1-0 with 6:30 left in the second.
With U.S. defenseman Dylan Samberg in the penalty box for high sticking, Pettersson, the Vancouver Canucks’ No. 5 overall pick last year, received a pass in the left faceoff circle from Buffalo Sabres 2016 first-round selection Alex Nylander and one-timed a slap shot over Woll’s shoulder into the far corner of the net.
Gustavsson’ preserved the lead when stopped U.S. forward Casey MIttelstadt on a breakaway in the final minute of the second period. Mittlestadt, the Sabres’ most recent first-round pick, entered the game leading the tournament with 10 points.
Andersson made it 2-0 when he tapped in his sixth goal of the tournment on a 2-on-1 with Fredrik Karlstrom early in the third period. Steen and Jonsson Fjallby scored shorthanded goals 38 seconds apart before the U.S. pulled goaltender Joseph Woll with 11:25 remaining.
Bellows scored his tournament-leading seventh goal on a power play to end Gustavsson’s shutout bid with 7:36 remaining. The U.S. could not convert on its first four power plays while allowing the two shorthanded goals.
Tkachuk’s goal came with 3:01 left to play and the U.S. was unable to score on a power play in the closing minutes.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas dropped the ceremonial first puck wearing a replica of one of his older Buffalo Bills jerseys, matching the U.S. uniforms. Team USA also wore the blue jerseys and pants during its preliminary-round win over Canada outdoors at the Bills’ New Era Field.
By JONAH BRONSTEIN by Associated Press, published on STL.NEWS by St. Louis Media, LLC (US)
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