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JOHNSON SCORES, USA FALLS

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
BERN, Switzerland - The U.S. Men's National Team finished play in the 73rd annual International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship with a 4-2 loss to Sweden in the bronze-medal game here this afternoon. Despite the loss, the U.S. moved up to fifth in the world ranking.

"I thought our young team deserved a little better fate in the tournament," said Ron Wilson, head coach of Team USA. "We're disappointed as we came here to win a medal, but our guys left it all out on the ice and that's all you can ask."

The first period ended scoreless. Goaltenders for both teams were solid. Robert Esche (Utica, N.Y.), starting for the eighth time in nine tournament games, made a key save early from point-blank range off the stick of Sweden's Johan Harju. Joe Pavelski (Stevens Point, Wis./San Jose Sharks/University of Wisconsin) had a good chance from the left of Swedish netminder Stefan Liv just more than four minutes into the game, but perhaps the best U.S. chance in the period came when Matt Niskanen (Virginia, Minn./Dallas Stars/University of Minnesota Duluth) sent a nice up-ice pass that sprung Keith Ballard (Baudette, Minn./Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota) in alone with the teams skating four-on-four.

Jack Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind./L.A. Kings/University of Michigan) blasted a slap shot from the center point on the power play at 5:14 of the second period to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. John-Michael Liles (Indianapolis, Ind./Colorado Avalanche/Michigan State University), who with a goal and eight assists, finished as Team USA's top point-getter in the tournament, also drew an assist on the play. Sweden tied the game when Tony Martensson sent a puck from behind the net in front where Loui Eriksson banged it home at 13:23 on the power play. Martensson got credit for a five-on-three power play goal at 15:57 that actually deflected off the shaft of Jack Johnson's stick and past Esche to give Sweden a 2-1 lead after two periods.

Pavelski tied the game on an end-to-end rush just 2:15 into the third period that he completed from the faceoff circle by beating Liv high to the glove side. Carl Gunnarsson scored what proved to be the game-winner on a shot from the center point on the power play at 9:00. The Swedes scored a power-play goal into an empty net to account for the 4-2 final with :01 remaining.

Esche made 24 saves in the contest, while Liv had 37 stops.

NOTES: Defenseman Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators/University of Wisconsin) was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... The U.S. had a 39-28 shots-on-goal advantage in the contest ... Sweden scored all four of its goals on the power play ... Defenseman Jack Johnson finished as Team USA's top goal scorer with five ... Buzz Schneider, member of the 1980 U.S. "Miracle on Ice" Olympic Team, attended today's game ... The U.S. improved its world ranking from sixth to fifth as a result of its fourth-place finish in the World Championship ... Team USA's three best players of the tournament were Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./L.A. Kings), David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues/Minnesota State University) and Ron Hainsey (Bolton, Conn./Atlanta Thrashers/University of Massachusetts Lowell) ... The average age of Team USA was 24.80 years of age ... The 2010 IIHF Men's World Championship will take place in Cologne and Mannheim, Germany, from May 7-23.

GAME SUMMARY
Scoring By Period
USA 0 - 1 - 1 - 2
SWE 0 - 2 - 2 - 4

First Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Johnson (equipment infraction), 5:33; SWE, Omark (high-sticking), 5:33; SWE, Liv (tripping), 6:56; USA, Suter (cross-checking), 10:15; SWE, Tarnstrom (tripping), 10:24; USA, Backes (high-sticking), 17:53.

Second Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Johnson (Liles), 5:14 (pp); 2, SWE, Eriksson (Martensson, Weinhandl), 13:24 (pp); 3, SWE, Martensson (Weinhandl, Eriksson), 15:57 (5x3 pp). Penalties: SWE, Weinhandl (holding), 4:44; USA, Stafford (elbowing), 12:57; USA, Niskanen (hooking), 14:55; USA, Hainsey (delay of game), 15:45; USA, Johnson (roughing), 18:53; USA, Johnson (roughing), 18:53; SWE, Stralman (roughing), 18:53; SWE, Stralman (roughing), 18:53; SWE, Jonsson (hooking), 19:22.

Third Period - Scoring: 4, USA, Pavelski (unassisted), 2:15; 5, SWE, Gunnarsson (Weinhandl), 9:00 (pp); 6, SWE, Oduya (Jonsson), 19:59 (en). Penalties: USA, Backes (tripping), 8:15; SWE, Weinhandl (interference), 11:53; USA, Suter (cross-checking), 19:14; USA, Brown (cross-checking), 19:32.

Shots by Period
USA 16-11-12-39
SWE 9-14-5-28

Goaltenders
USA, Esche 59:11, 24-of-27
SWE, Liv 60:00, 37-of-39

Power Play: USA 1-5; SWE 4-8
Penalties: USA 11-22; SWE 8-16
Referees: Rafail Kadyrov (RUS), Brent Reiber (SUI); Linesmen: Andri Kicha (UKR), Antti Orelma (FIN).
Attendance: 11,249

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