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Team North America defeats Sweden in thrilling OT, forces Russia into must-win game

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team North America v Sweden

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of Team North America celebrates his game-winning goal in overtime against Team Sweden during the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 21, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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Team North America is still alive in its quest for a World Cup semifinal berth. And they stay alive following one of the most exciting three-on-three overtime periods you might ever see.

The final 45 seconds of that extra period was wild.

The two teams -- more specifically, Daniel Sedin for Sweden and Nathan MacKinnon for North America -- traded glorious chances in such a short amount of time, bringing the crowd in Toronto to its feet. MacKinnon finally won it, as he dragged the puck to his backhand and beat Henrik Lundqvist top shelf, giving ‘TNA’ a crucial 4-3 victory.

The opportunity on Lundqvist presented itself after Johnny Gaudreau, who was sensational throughout the entire game, stripped Daniel Sedin of the puck as Sweden was trying to counter attack. The puck found its way to MacKinnon, who was left all alone.

You know the rest.

My goodness. What an overtime period.

John Gibson had some shaky moments in this game, but he also came up big with a breakaway stop on Daniel Sedin in the OT.

That’s an important win for the young North American squad. They move to 2-1 in the tournament, with four points. They’re certainly in for a stressful 24 hours or so, but they have forced Russia into a must-win versus Finland on Thursday.

If Russia cannot beat Finland, then North America advances.

A regulation win would’ve been much better, as North America would’ve clinched a semifinal berth in that situation. And they certainly got off to the perfect start, with Auston Matthews scoring 30 seconds in and Gaudreau awarded a penalty shot -- he was unsuccessful in his attempt -- 26 seconds later.

But Sweden managed to come back, tying the game on a goal from Patrik Berglund early in the third period.

The single point means Sweden clinches top spot in Group B with a 2-0-1 record and five points, and a berth in the semifinals.