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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Despite coming back from a 3-0 deficit, the U.S. Men's National Team fell to Canada, 5-4, here today in its final preliminary-round game of the 72nd annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. The U.S. finished in second place in Group B at the end of the preliminary round with a 2-0-0-1 record.

"It was a heckuva hockey game," said John Tortorella, head coach of Team USA. "We were down 2-0 after the first period and I thought it was maybe our best period of the tournament. I thought both teams played hard. It's disappointing to come out on the losing side, but it's a real positive to be able to play a high level game like this early in the tournament. And that's meant with no disrespect to our first two opponents."

Despite outshooting Canada, 13-6, Team USA found itself down 2-0 after the first 20 minutes. Brent Burns tallied Canada's first goal after firing a wrist shot from the middle point that beat netminder Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./Boston Bruins/University of Vermont) on the blocker side. Dany Heatley doubled Canada's lead after collecting his own rebound and sliding the puck under Thomas with just 11 seconds remaining in the first.

After Jonathon Toews gave Canada a 3-0 lead just 18 seconds into the middle frame, the U.S. answered back with two quick goals. Just 34 seconds later, Jason Pominville (Buffalo, N.Y./Buffalo Sabres) fed Zach Parise (Minneapolis, Minn./New Jersey Devils/University of North Dakota) who shoveled it past netminder Cam Ward. At the 3:09 mark, Patrick O'Sullivan (Winston-Salem, N.C./L.A. Kings) 700K notched his second goal of the tournament. Tom Gilbert (Minneapolis, Minn./Edmonton Oilers/University of Wisconsin) sprung Drew Stafford (Milwaukee, Wis./Buffalo Sabres/University of North Dakota) with a long pass up the middle, then Stafford fed O'Sullivan who fired the puck past Ward on the blocker side. Thomas left the game after the second period with an injury and was replaced by Craig Anderson (Park Ridge, Ill./Florida Panthers).

Canada's Derek Roy opened the scoring of a hotly-contested third period at the 3:29 mark to give his team a 4-2 lead. Team USA answered back with a power-play tally just 1:49 later to pull back within one goal. Dustin Brown 700K (Ithaca, N.Y./L.A. Kings) tapped the puck home after receiving a pass across the crease from O'Sullivan. Parise also drew an assist on the play. While on another man advantage just 1:36 later, Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) sent a cross-ice pass to Pominville who fired the puck past Ward from the left side of the net to tie the game at four. With time ticking down in regulation, Canada took an odd-man break down the ice and Ryan Getzlaf fed Heatley who one-timed a shot past the outstretched glove of Anderson at the 19:13 mark. The U.S. had one last gasp in the final :30 after pulling Anderson in favor of an extra attacker and on a power play, but was unable to get the equalizer.

Thomas and Anderson combined for 24 saves. Team USA out shot Canada, 33-29.

The U.S. Men's National Team will return to action on Thursday (May 8) against a yet to be determined opponent in its first game of the qualification round.

NOTES: Dustin Brown (3-2=5) and Patrick Kane (2-3=5) lead Team USA with five points apiece ... All 56 games from the 2008 IIHF Men's World Championship will be broadcast live on . The 2008 U.S. Men's National Team is under the direction of Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, and a four-member advisory group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke (Anaheim), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Don Waddell (Atlanta). Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey and its international council chair, oversees all aspects of international competition for USA Hockey.

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