Coming off a loss to their biggest rivals, Team USA was looking for a rebound win against a powerhouse Russian team early Thursday morning. However, despite their best efforts, they would fall to the Russians in a closely contested and heated game.
The first period could go down as one of the most exciting in this tournament with Mikhail Grigorenko striking first for Russia six minutes into the frame and then Stefan Matteau equalizing three minutes later for the US. Not even a minute later Pavel Buchnevich would once again put the Russians on top until Ryan Hartman and Nic Kerdiles tallied goals to put the Americans up 3-2 at the end of the first period.
The second period however would be the Americans undoing as they took too many penalties and allowed Sabres first round pick Nikita Zadorov to blast home two powerplay goals to retake the lead late in the second period. The US hung tough in the 3rd looking to get the equalizing goal however Buchnevich would put home an empty netter with 28 seconds left to seal the win...then ruin it completely by taunting the American bench in classless fashion.This was followed by one of the Russian coaches making an obscene gesture at the US bench which is even more uncalled for especially from a guy at least 35 years older than the kids he's taunting. (the gif is here)
Team USA will not be able to place higher than 5th this year after winning the tournament in 2013 but the team itself performed very well even with the disappointing finish. Jack Eichel and Hudson Fasching have drawn great praise for their play this tournament and Eichel especially will be one to watch as his draft year approaches. Jon Gillies stopped 20 out of the 24 shots he faced but did not appear particularly strong in nets today.
Team USA will wait to see who their next opponent is and after a disappointing series of losses they'll be coming out of the gate looking to prove a point for the remainder of their games.
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