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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

Russia Tops United States, 5-1, In World Junior Championship
Team USA To Go For Bronze Thursday vs. Finland

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Russia scored a 5-1 victory over the United States in semifinal action here tonight at the 2006 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The game was played before 18,630 at GM Place.

The loss means the U.S. will play for the bronze medal against Finland Thursday at 12  p.m. (PST). Canada beat the Finns in the other semifinal by a 4-0 count.

"They're an excellent team," said U.S. Head Coach Walt Kyle of the Russians. "Obviously the result wasn't what we wanted, but I'm proud of the effort by our team. While we're disappointed now, this team still has a chance to do what only four other U.S. teams have done in the 30-year history of the tournament and that's win a medal."

It was a fast-skating first period. The Russians scored the only goal of the opening frame when Nikolai Kulemin chipped home a rebound off Ilia Zubov's initial shot from the high slot. U.S. netminder Cory Schneider (Marblehead, Mass.) made several good saves in the period, including a solid stop off Roman Voloshenko's wrist shot from the center slot with eight minutes left and a shorthanded chance by Evgeni Malkin with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the stanza. Perhaps the best U.S. chance in the period came when Tom Fritsche (Parma, Ohio) tried to jam one home from out in front.

The U.S. played a solid second period and finished with a 16-6 shots-on-goal advantage. The combination of Fritsche, Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn.) and Robbie Schremp (Fulton, N.Y.) had a dominating shift early in the stanza, but couldn't cash in. Then about four minutes later, the U.S. applied furious pressure in the Russian zone with a delayed penalty on, but chances by Schremp and Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis.) were turned aside by Russian netminder Anton Khudobin. Schneider was again solid, with a particularly important save on a point blank chance off a three-on-two break by Sergei Shirokov with six-and-a-half minutes to go in the frame. The second period finished with Russia ahead 1-0.

Russia made it 2-0 just 1:42 into the third period when Nikolai Kulemin sailed down the right wing and got around Taylor Chorney (Hastings, Minn.) before putting the puck up high over Schneider at 1:42. Team USA got right back in the game just :52 later when Jack Skille (Madison, Wis.) batted a rebound of Jack Johnson's (Indianapolis, Ind.) initial power play shot out of the air and into the back of the net. Unfortunately for the U.S., the Russians came right back :39 later to regain a two-goal lead and Team USA got no closer.

Schneider made 29 saves in the game, while Khudobin finished with 34 stops.

Thursday's (Jan. 5) U.S.-Finland bronze medal game can be seen on a same-day tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports Net North beginning at 10 p.m. (CST)

NOTES: Team USA appeared in the semifinals of the World Junior Championship for the fourth straight year ... The U.S. has a chance to earn a medal in the World Junior Championship for the fifth time when it faces Finland Thursday.


Scoring By Period
RUS 1-0-4 -- 5
USA  0-0-1 -- 1

First Period - Scoring: 1, RUS, Kulemin (Zubov, Malkin), 12:32. Penalties: USA, Oshie (hooking), 3:12; RUS, Emelin (tripping), 8:30; RUS, Zubov (hooking), 15:48; RUS, Emelin (holding), 19:46.

Second Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Mueller (holding), 0:49; RUS, Zubarev (hooking), 8:51; RUS, Ogorodnikov (holding), 15:52; RUS, Malkin (double minor, high-sticking), 17:13; USA, J. Johnson (hooking), 19:48.

Third Period - Scoring: RUS, Kulemin, 1:42 (pp); USA, Skille (J. Johnson, Bourque), 2:34 (pp); RUS, Emelin (Malkin), 3:13. RUS, Shirokov (Lemtyugov), 13:01; RUS, Lemtyugov (Shirokov, Buravchikov), 15:15; RUS,  Penalties: RUS, Lyamin (holding), 2:15; USA, Chorney (roughing), 9:25; RUS, Radulov (roughing), 11:51; USA, Skille (roughing), 11:51; RUS, Voloshenko (interference), 16:42; Schremp (cross-checking), 17:39; Schremp (roughing), 17:39; RUS, Zubarev (roughing), 18:10; RUS, Emelin (interference), 18:43; RUS, Khudobin (roughing), 18:43; RUS, Emelin (roughing major), 18:43; USA, Bourque (roughing), 18:43; USA, Mitera (roughing major), 18:43; Emelin (game misconduct), 18:43; USA, Mitera (game misconduct), 18:43.

Shots By Period
USA  8-16-11--35
RUS 12-6-16--34

Goaltending (SH-SV)  Total
USA, Schneider (60:00)  34-29
RUS, Khudobin (60:00)  35-34

Power Play:
USA 1-11
RUS 1-4

USA 10-41
RUS 15-51

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