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RUSSIA TOPS USA

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
BERN, Switzerland - The U.S. Men's National Team began the day looking to advance to the gold-medal game of the International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship for the first time since 1950 (not including the Olympics). A power-play goal by Konstantin Gorovikov with 1:47 to play foiled that bid, as Russia held on for a 3-2 victory in semifinal play of the 73rd annual IIHF World Championship here Friday.

The U.S. will look to earn its first medal since 2004 in the bronze-medal game on Sunday (May 10) against the loser of the Canada-Sweden semifinal. Opening faceoff is set for 10 a.m. EDT and the game can be seen live on UniversalSports.com.

"I'm very proud of our team," said Ron Wilson, head coach of Team USA. "I thought we played a great game tonight. We're obviously disappointed, but we came here to win a medal and we'll be ready to play in the bronze game on Sunday."

It was a scoreless first period. Team USA did a good job at getting sticks in passing lanes and Robert Esche (Utica, N.Y.) was solid in goal, making seven saves. One of the defensive highlights of the period came when Nick Foligno (Buffalo, N.Y./Ottawa Senators) dove to break up a 2-on-1 break for Russia just more than five minutes into the game.

Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./L.A. Kings) staked the U.S. to a 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the second period when he intercepted a pass in the Russian zone at the left faceoff dot and skated in alone and beat Ilya Bryzgalov between the legs. Russia evened the game at 11:20 when Ilya Kovalchuk fired one home after Sergei Zinoviev won the faceoff to Esche's right. Russia took the lead at 14:25 when Alexander Frolov deflected Kovalchuk's shot past Esche. Just after a Russian penalty to Alexei Tereschenko for diving ended, the U.S. tied the game. Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, Minn./N.Y. Islanders/University of Minnesota) finished a three-way passing play that included Ron Hainsey (Bolton, Conn./Atlanta Thrashers/University of Massachusetts Lowell) and John-Michael Liles (Indianapolis, Ind./Colorado Avalanche/Michigan State University) with a blast from the right faceoff circle.

The game-winner came when Alexander Radulov's shot bounced off the calf of Gorovikov out in front and deflected off Esche's shoulder and in the net. The U.S. pulled Esche with 1:19 left and had a great chance in the waning seconds, but Patrick O'Sullivan's (Winston-Salem, N.C./Edmonton Oilers) shot sailed high.

Esche made 20 saves in the contest, while Bryzgalov had 18 stops.

Okposo was named the U.S. Player of the Game.

NOTES: Team USA has won three medals in the World Championship since 1962, including bronze in 2004, 1996 and 1962 ... Dustin Brown (3-5--8) and John-Michael Liles (1-8--9) are Team USA's leading point getters through eight games of the World Championship ... Ron Wilson is the head coach of Team USA for the third time in the World Championship. In each year (1994, 1996, 2009) under Wilson, the U.S. has advanced to the semifinals ... The IIHF Men's World Championship includes 16 nations, initially divided into four, four-team pools. In the preliminary round, each team plays the other three teams in its pool. The top three teams in each pool advance to the qualification round. The qualification round consists of two groups of six teams each. A team advancing to the qualification round plays three additional games against the teams it has not yet faced that are part of its new pool. The top four teams in each of the two pools from the qualification round qualification round advance to the single-elimination quarterfinal round, with the winners playing in the semifinals. The two semifinal winners play for the gold medal while the losers play for the bronze medal ... Universal Sports will provide both live streaming and television coverage of all quarterfinal, semifinal and medal games of the 2009 IIHF Men's World Championship ... Click here for the Team USA roster ... Click here to download the Team USA media guide ... The 2009 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of Brian Burke, general manager; David Poile, associate general manager; and Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey. The U.S. Men's National Advisory Group, which includes Burke, Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Johannson, Dean Lombardi (L.A. Kings), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Don Waddell (Atlanta), is charged with leading the selection of players for the U.S. Men's National Team. Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey and its international council chair, oversees all aspects of international competition for USA Hockey … Scott Gordon, head coach of the New York Islanders, and Joe Sacco, head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, are the assistant coaches for the 2009 U.S. Men's National Team.

GAME SUMMARY
Scoring By Period
USA 0 - 2 - 0 - 2
RUS 0 - 2 - 1 - 3

First Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Okposo (slashing), 18:17.

Second Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Brown (unassisted), 3:46; 2, RUS, Kovalchuk (Zinoviev), 11:20; 3, RUS, Frolov (Kovalchuk), 14:25; 4, USA, Okposo (Hainsey, Liles), 18:03. Penalties: RUS, Tereschenko (diving), 15:55.

Third Period - Scoring: 5, RUS, Gorovikov (Radulov, Nikulin), 18:13 (pp). Penalties: USA, Okposo (slashing), 1:24; RUS, Proshkin (slashing), 5:00; RUS, Tereschenko (hooking), 10:10; USA, Oshie (hooking), 16:31.

Shots by Period
USA: 6-8-6-20
RUS: 7-5-11-23

Goaltenders (SH/SV)
USA, Esche 58:41, 20-of-23
RUS, Bryzgalov 60:00, 18-of-20

Power Play: USA 0-3; RUS 1-3
Penalties: USA 3-6; RUS 3-6
Referees: Brent Reiber (SUI), Marcus Vinnerborg (SWE); Linesmen: Peter Sabelstrom (SWE), Daniel Wirth (SUI)
Attendance: 11,057

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