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Ex-Jr. Duck Johnson helps Team USA win gold in World Jr. A Challenge

Ryan Johnson likes to let his play speak for itself.

The message from the longtime Anaheim Jr. Ducks defenseman is coming through loud and clear this season.

Johnson helped Team USA defeat Russia, 2-0, on Sunday for the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge at Bonnyville, Alberta. That came one day after he was selected the U.S. Player of the Game after a 3-2 overtime victory against Canada West in the semifinals.

"It was an unbelievable experience," Johnson said. "Our group came along real well and got very close as a team. We won because of that, as well as good coaching. We had a lot of determination to win and everyone wanted to be better."

Johnson, who is in his rookie season with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, earned his second gold medal competing for Team USA in the past 16 months. He and former Jr. Ducks teammate Josh Groll teamed up on Team USA's gold-medal-winning team at last summer's U17 Five Nations Cup.

Johnson was named to the U.S. Junior Select Team, which is comprised of players that compete in junior hockey leagues across the nation, in mid-November. The team helped the United States win gold at the World Junior A Challenge for the fifth time in seven years against a field that included two teams from Canada and one each from the Czech Republic and Russia.

Sunday's championship victory also avenged a 4-3 loss to the Russians in the final round-robin game, which gave Team USA with a 2-1-1 preliminary-round record. Earlier, the Americans had lost to Canada West, 2-1, in a shootout.

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