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Team USA loses finale to Czech Republic

by Arpon Basu

TORONTO -- Team USA is leaving the World Cup of Hockey 2016 without a victory after losing to Team Czech Republic 4-3 in the final preliminary-round game at Air Canada Centre on Thursday.

Milan Michalek scored twice, and his brother Zbynek Michalek scored for Team Czech Republic. Andrej Sustr scored, and Petr Mrazek made 36 saves.

Joe Pavelski, Justin Abdelkader and Ryan McDonagh scored, and Ben Bishop made 16 saves on 20 shots for Team USA before being replaced to start the third period by Cory Schneider, who made seven saves.

Team Czech Republic (1-2-0) and Team USA (0-3-0) finished third and fourth in Group A behind Team Canada (3-0-0) and Team Europe (2-1-0).

With the game tied 2-2 late in the second period, Team Czech Republic scored two goals in 39 seconds.

Sustr scored at 16:50 when his shot from the side found a hole between Bishop and the post. Michalek scored his second goal at 17:29 when Ales Hemsky set him up for a one-timer in the slot that beat Bishop high to the glove side.

Team USA pulled within 2-1 at 2:22 of the third period on McDonagh's second goal of the tournament, fighting off Jakub Voracek to convert a feed from Blake Wheeler while shorthanded.

Team USA buzzed the Team Czech Republic zone for most of the remainder of the third period, including a power play with 2:11 to play, but could not tie the game.

Zbynek Michalek made it 1-0 at 12:44 of the first period on a point shot. Pavelski tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal at 14:28 off a setup from Zach Parise and Patrick Kane.

Milan Michalek got credit for Team Czech Republic's second goal when Team USA defenseman Ryan Suter swept a loose puck in the crease into his net at 6:03 of the second period. Abdelkader tied the game 2-2 at 14:13 of the second, one-timing a Dustin Byfuglien pass past Mrazek.

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