Thursday, January 02, 2014

USA knocked out of worlds by Russia

There will be a new triumphant nation at the 2014 World Junior Championships.

Nikita Zadorov netted a pair of late second-period power-play goals to give Russia the lead, and it nursed that advantage to a 5-3 victory over Team USA early this morning in the first quarterfinal.

America led 3-2 after one period on scores from Stefan Matteau, Ryan Hartman and Nik Kerdiles, but the defending champions ran into penalty trouble and their foes made them pay -- twice striking during 5-on-3's.

Andrei Vasilevski picked up the win with 30 saves.

Pavel Buchnevich hit the empty net with 28 seconds to play, and then made the ill-advised decision to try and celebrate his marker near the USA's bench. Hartman decided to answer by raking his stick across the young counterpart's face.

Jon Gillies returned to the net, but took the loss after surrendering four goals on 24 chances. America can finish no higher than fifth, two spots up from their 2012 Calgary/Edmonton placing.

The Russians have a stiff test in front of them in one semifinal. Host Sweden ripped Slovakia by a 6-0 count later Thursday. Finland will take on Canada in the other semi, both of which will occur on Saturday.

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