Westport's Michael Paliotta and Stamford's Ryan Haggerty are world champions. They got the hardware Sunday to prove it.
Team USA defeated Sweden, 4-3, in overtime to win the gold medal in the 2011 International Hockey Federation Men's Under 18 Championship. Connor Murphy scored two goals, including the game-winner at 6:06 into overtime, to lift the U.S. team to the title. The championship game was played in Crimmitschau, Germany.
"It's an unbelievable feeling and accomplishment,'' Paliotta wrote in an email. "These past two years have been an incredible experience, and it has been our goal to win gold. We battled through adversity and made history with the three-peat. It took everyone's best, and we're now world champions."
The game was the final one for Team USA for Paliotta, who will attend the University of Vermont, and Haggerty, who will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Haggerty played at Trinity Catholic before joining Team USA. Paliotta played for Choate Rosemary Hall.
Team USA went 6-0 in the tournament. It defeated Canada in the semifinals, 5-4, in overtime Saturday to reach Sunday's championship game. It was Team USA's third straight title in the tournament.
"We knew how talented Sweden was from past tournaments,'' Team USA coach Ron Rolston said. "This year our players fought hard to come from behind and win the gold medal."
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