Bjugstad's Goal Tops Finland in Overtime

Freshman Nick Bjugstad faced off against teammate Erik Haula in the World Junior Championships on Sunday. The defending champion American team took out a very tough Finnish squad by a score of 3-2 in overtime.

Sunday was the first time that Bjugstad and Haula faced each other in the tournament. Both players had had solid games to open up the World Junior Championships.

Haula played significant minutes in the game. At 5-foot-10, Haula is small but is a scrappy player which was shown by his holding penalty in the first at 14:40. Finland successfully killed the penalty only to give up a powerplay goal later in the period to put the United States up 1-0.

The teams exchanged goals in the second to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Americans. Late in the third period Haula assisted on a goal by Iiro Pakarinen to notch the teams at two goals.

The game ended up in an extra session which did not last long. Just three minutes into overtime Nick Bjugstad came off the bench only to find the puck right at his feet. Bjugstad took it into the Finnish zone and rifled a shot through the pads of Joni Ortio to give the Americans their first victory of the tournament.

The goal energized the crowd and set off a celebration by the American players. After the game, Bjugstad claimed that it was the biggest goal he had ever scored.

The United States will play on the 28th against Slovakia at 7 PM. Haula will lead Finland at 11:30 AM against Switzerland on the same day.

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