The United States has shown a flair for the dramatic at the World Junior Championship.
There was the come-from-behind shootout win over Canada in the snow globe game at New Era Field on Friday.
Sunday's drama was self-inflicted as the U.S. blew significant leads. Twice.
But defenseman Adam Fox took a pass from Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt with 1:37 left in regulation to give the Americans a 5-4 win over Finland in front of 7,884 in KeyBank Center.
"There's been no shortage of excitement for us in this tournament so far, but we're finding a way to win and that's the biggest thing," U.S. captain Joey Anderson said. "We didn't play some of our best hockey at all times tonight, but we found a way to win."
"To the positive side first, we won the game," said U.S. coach Bob Motzko. "We did a lot of good things tonight. We caused our own problems tonight, too, and we dodged a bullet. We've got to learn quickly. ...We fell asleep one little stint in the second and one in the third and that hurt us. Can't do that."
The U.S. took a 2-0 lead in the first period, getting on the board just 3:59 into the game on a goal from Trent Frederic. Mittelstadt scored at 14:33, a beautiful finish off a perfect pass from Brady Tkachuk.
The American lead went to 3-0 at 6:56 of the third when Anderson put a loose puck into an open net on a five-on-three power play. It looked as if the U.S. was in control.
But Finland had plenty of comeback left.
The Finns found life after their first goal, a nice odd-man rush tally by Aapeli Rasanen from Eeli Tolvanen. Tolvanen then scored on the power play to close the gap to 3-2.
Anderson netted his second of the game, on the power play, with 33.1 seconds left in the second period which seemed to give the U.S. some breathing room.
Only Finland had other plans.
Joona Koppanen scored shorthanded at 8:25 of the third then a minute and six seconds later Kristian Vesalainen tied the game, beating U.S. goalie Joe Woll under his arm.
"I think just for periods of the game we stopped moving our feet. That's probably one of the biggest things," Anderson said. "We let them get their legs going and then they start making plays and suddenly it's a tie game. We found a way to stick with it and come away with the win."
It was Fox who scored the game-winner, set up by a pass from Mittelstadt, to bail out the U.S. and secure the Americans second place in Group A.
"Honestly, (Brady) Tkachuk made a good play on the breakout," Mittelstadt said. "I just had some speed, Fox had some speed. He was yelling for it. He made it pretty easy for me. He did most of the work there."
It was the fourth goal by a defenseman for Team USA this tournament. The green light for the defensemen is a trademark of the American blue line. Which can be great. But it can also be problematic. A few times the U.S. gave up odd-man rushes to Finland, which is one of the areas the Americans need to address as it heads to the medal rounds.
"You get a little offensively happy sometimes and you want to get a goal or create a play," Fox said. "When you have a two-goal lead against a team like Finland, you've got to sit back and pick your spots smartly. Just getting (the mistakes) out of the way in the round robin and cleaning it up and fixing our execution on some plays is going to be big for us going forward."
And Motzko only sees the best hockey for the U.S. in the future.
"We've got to quit making mistakes," Motzko said. "You're going to take penalties but you can't just throw the baton at the other team and say 'here, your turn.' And we've done that. … We've got to clean up that part.
"I think we haven't played our best game yet. If there's ever a time to play it, now's the time to play it."
The U.S. will play in the 8 p.m. quarterfinal on Tuesday in KeyBank Center against the third-seeded team from Group B.
And while their best hockey may be ahead of them, their attitude has been spot-on.
"I think we're definitely going to stay resilient," said Mittelstadt who now has four goals and five assists in the tournament. "We had a tough loss to Slovakia and then we were down 3-1 against Canada and came back to win that one. Then we gave up those two quick goals tonight and we were able to find another one. I think the main thing I've learned about us is we're definitely going to stay resilient and make sure we do our best each day."