The Americans put forth a very strong effort against the Russians but could only beat netminder Andrei Makarov once, falling 2-1 to the 2013 World Junior Championship hosts on Friday.
Team USA threw 42 shots at Makarov but he stood tall when under siege and was named the Russian Player of the Game for his efforts.
Calgary Flames prospect Patrick Sieloff was named to the US roster on Friday morning, beating out Matt Grzelcyk for final spot on the American blueline. He was thrown right into the fire in his first game of the tournament, killing off penalties and helping the US establish a physical presence against the Russians.
Sieloff's fellow Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau was once again on the American top line, playing with J.T. Miller and Rocco Grimaldi. The trio looked far better than they did during the USA's 8-0 win over Germany on Thursday. Against the Germans, they looked almost tentative at times as they tried to build some chemistry together. They clicked against the Russians and generated quite a few Americans scoring opportunities. They combined for nine shots on net - three apiece.
Gaudreau's best chance of the game came very early in the game when he was absolutely robbed by Makarov with a pad save. The shifty forward had gotten open at the side of the net and looked to have an easy tap-in once the puck landed on his stick but the netminder somehow extended his leg far enough to deny Gaudreau.
The USA's next game is on Dec. 30 against Canada at 2:30 AM MT. TSN and the NHL Network are carrying the North American clash.
The Russians took an early lead when they capitalized with the man advantage. Jacob Trouba was called for interference at 2:29 and Russia's power play unit found the back of net very quickly. Albert Yarullin's shot from the faceoff circle bounced off Jake McCabe and John Gibson wasn't able to get a handle on it. Nikita Nesterov and Nail Yakupov assisted.
Jacob Trouba notched the equalizer during an American power play in the second period. His bomb from the point deflected off a Russian penalty killer and went over Makarov's blocker. Alex Galchenyuk collected the lone assist.
Russia took the lead again at 4:10 of the third period when 2013 draft-eligible forward Valeri Nichushkin's end-to-end rush was finished off by Vladimir Tkachyov. Nichushkin blew past the American defence and drove hard to the find. Gibson made the initial save on his shot but Tkachyov slipped into the slot and threw it past the netminder's right pad.
USA LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALTENDERS
Johnny Gaudreau - J.T. Miller - Rocco Grimaldi
Alex Galchenyuk - Sean Kuraly - Riley Barber
Blake Pietila - Cole Bardreau - Ryan Hartman
Mario Lucia - Vince Trocheck - Tyler Biggs
Mike Reilly - Seth Jones
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jacob Trouba
Jake McCabe - Connor Murphy
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