Going into Thursday’s quarterfinals match-up, the Russians have historically gotten the best of Team USA in the World Juniors playoffs, leading the series with four wins and zero losses.
That streak would continue.
A year after winning gold, the US will leave the World Juniors Championship without a medal, losing to the Russians 5-3 at Malmo Isstadion.
Down 3-2 to USA, Nikita Zadorov’s game-tying and game-winning power play goals in the second period pushed Russia into the semifinals. The US took way too penalties, six, and it was Zadorov who cashed in on the opportunities.
The game-tying two-man advantage tally came at 13:15 off a one-timer setup by Anton Slepyshev, who assisted three times and was awarded Player of the Game for his respective team.
Still on the penalty kill, Team USA took another penalty to force them to go down two men once again. Steven Santini’s delay of the game for sending the puck out of play in the defensive zone came five seconds after Russia tied the game 3-3.
It was at the hands of Zadorov, who would make them pay dearly. Slepyshev once again set up a one-timer that would go past American goaltender Jon Gilles at 14:16.
Gillies made just nineteen saves in the loss.
After a shaky first period by Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevski, giving up goals to Stefan Matteau (8:50), Ryan Hartman (11:23), and Nicolas Kerdiles (16:51), he battled and didn’t give up a goal for the remainder of the game. Vasilevski stopped thirty shots by the Americans.
Mikhail Grigorenko (6:17) and Pavel Buchnevich (9:11) would also net first period goals for the Russians.
Buchnevich would score his second of the game off a mishandle by Matt Grzelcyk at the blue line and put the puck into the empty net with twenty-eight seconds remaining in regulation.