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Hurricane-led Comeback Bid Falls Just Short for U.S.

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
In its first real test against against some of the top competition at the IIHF World Championships, Team U.S.A. was narrowly defeated by the Czech Republic 4-3 thanks to a late goal which capped a wild third period.


The Hurricanes continued to be well-represented in the tournament, with Chad LaRose and Andrew Hutchinson leading a comeback charge before the Czech Republic's Jaroslav Bednar scored the winning goal with just over a minute left.

After the Czechs capitalized on a defensive miscue between Boston Bruins teammates Andrew Alberts and Phil Kessel, the Americans found themselves in a 3-1 hole midway through the third period.

However, with the Czechs seeming content to kill the clock in the final minutes of play, Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose sparked his team, as he is apt to do, with a shorthanded goal with seven minutes left.

Then, Canes defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, who has been seeing plenty of time on the power play, tied the game with a slap shot from the point that may have been deflected by teammate Adam Hall, but Hutchinson was still credited with the goal.

The comeback seemed to be complete before Bednar slipped in behind the U.S. defense and beat the Hurricanes' John Grahame, who had 20 saves in his third consecutive start.

Grahame didn't have much of a chance on most of the goals scored against him in this game, with only Zbynek Irgl's slap shot from the right circle beating him cleanly.

Hurricanes winger Erik Cole also played in the game, but was held scoreless by the Czechs.

The loss gives Team U.S.A. a 2-1 record in the preliminary round of play, which puts them in second in Group B behind the undefeated Czechs.  They will now move on to play in the qualifying round, where they will next face the runner-up in Group C.

That Group C runner-up could end up being Canada if they were to end up losing to Slovakia on Wednesday, which would set up a clash of the two groups of Hurricanes currently playing in the tournament.

For Hurricanes statistics and other information about the tournament, check out CarolinaHurricanes.com's World Championship page.
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