The tilt between New Jersey Devils prospects at the World Junior Championship semi-final was a thriller. Devils prospects Seamus Casey and Lenni Hameenaho battled to advance to the gold medal games against the hosts, Team Sweden. Team USA topped Team Finland in regulation, scoring the game-winning goal with just three-plus minutes left to play in regulation.
Finland took a 2-0 lead heading into the second period of play on the sticks of Oiva Keskinen and Rasmus Kumpulainen. However, about midway through the second period of play, Team USA went to the power play as a result of a trip by Devils prospect Hameenaho.
On the power play and in Finland’s end of the ice, Casey made a strong play to negate a clearing attempt by Finland and maintain the offensive zone. He followed that up with a primary assist, setting up St. Louis Blues prospect Jimmy Snuggerud for a one-timer that cut Finland’s lead to one goal.
— James Nichols (@JamesNicholsNHL) January 4, 2024
USA certainly rode the wave of momentum scoring two more goals in the remaining 25-plus minutes of play en route to the gold medal game. Philadelphia Flyers prospect scored the game-winning goal.
Casey finished the contest with an assist and one shot on goal in 21:32 of ice time.
In 16:26 of ice time, Hameenaho registered no points, no shots, and two penalty minutes.
Steven Ellis of DailyFaceoff is boots on the ground. In fact, he had more encouraging notes about the Devils prospect defenseman following USA’s 3-2 victory.
“I thought Casey was USA’s best all-around defenseman today,” Ellis wrote. “He set Snuggerud up for the 2-1 goal instead of shooting himself, which was a smart call. He had an active stick in his own zone and nearly grabbed a goal of his own in the second.”
Hameenaho and Finland go on to play Team Czechia on Friday.
Casey and the USA will meet Sweden in the gold medal game following the Finland/Czechia tilt.