The challenge for giddy U.S. players today at the World Junior Championships might be to remind themselves that their mission is far from complete.
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That might not be easy considering the Americans are coming off one of their country's top performances in international junior hockey after defeating Canada 5-1 to reach the gold-medal game.
"It's sort of like in Miracle (in 1980) when the Americans beat the Russians in the semifinal and still had to win another game to win the gold," U.S. center Johnny Gaudreau told USA TODAY Sports by phone from Ufa, Russia. "We beat Canada, and it's exciting, but we have one more game to play."
The USA will play defending champion Sweden in the gold-medal game Saturday (8 a.m., ET, NHL Network). Sweden blew a 2-0 lead vs. host Russia in Thursday's other semifinal but won 3-2 on Sebastien Collberg's shootout goal.