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TEAM USA FALLS TO RUSSIA

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
BERN, Switzerland – Russia, the defending world champion, scored three times on the power play en route to a 4-1 victory over the U.S. Men's National Team in qualification-round play here Saturday at the 73rd annual International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.


"They were the better team tonight," said Ron Wilson, head coach of Team USA. "It will be good for us to have a full practice tomorrow before we play Switzerland on Monday."

The U.S. will advance to the quarterfinal round with a win in its final qualification-round game Monday (May 4) against Switzerland. Opening faceoff is set for 2:15 p.m. EDT.

Team USA took the lead just 3:16 into the opening period when Lee Stempniak (West Seneca, N.Y./Toronto Maple Leafs/Dartmouth College) put a shot along the ice between the legs of Ilya Bryzgalov from just below the dot of the left faceoff circle. Nick Foligno (Buffalo, N.Y./Ottawa Senators) and John-Michael Liles (Indianapolis, Ind./Colorado Avalanche/Michigan State University) drew assists on the play. It took Russia less than two minutes to tie the game as Oleg Saprykin tipped one past Robert Esche (Utica, N.Y.) from in front at 5:01 on the power play. Alexander Perezhogin's power-play goal at 9:51 gave Russia their first lead of the game and Sergei Mozyakin's tally at 17:06 gave made it 3-1 after the first period.

Russia scored the only goal of the second period when Saprykin threw a blind backhanded pass from between the circles to the side of the net where Alexander Radulov put it home at 1:36 while on the power play. Team USA had a five-minute power play after a dangerous hit from behind by Vitali Vishnevsky on Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./L.A. Kings) in the second half of the middle period. Vishnevsky was disqualified from the game and fortunately Brown was not seriously injured. The best U.S. chance came late in the power play when Christopher Higgins (Smithtown, N.Y./Montreal Canadiens/Yale University) fired the puck wide from out in front with Bryzgalov out of position.

Esche, who was named the U.S. Player of the Game, made 28 saves in the loss, while Bryzgalov had 26 stops in the victory.

NOTES: Joe Pavelski (Stevens Points, Wis./San Jose Sharks/University of Wisconsin) played his first game of the 2009 IIHF World Championship tonight. Pavelski landed in Bern on Friday (May 1) ... Art Berglund, who retired from USA Hockey in 2005 after a distinguished 21-year career with the organization, was one of two presenters of the Player of the Game awards tonight. Berglund is a member of the IIHF Hall of Fame ... For the schedule and rankings in each of the two six-team qualification groups, click here ...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 the 2009 IIHF Men's World Championship beginning with the quarterfinal round ... 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 … Ron Wilson, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the head coach of the 2009 U.S. Men’s National Team and the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. 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 1 - 0 - 0 - 1
RUS 3 - 1- 0 - 4

First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Stempniak (Foligno, Liles), 3:16; 2, RUS, Saprykin (Radulov, Atyushov), 5:01 (pp); 3, RUS, Perezhogin (Kuryanov, Mozyakin), 9:51 (pp); 4, RUS, Mozyakin (Kuryanov, Perezhogin), 17:06. Penalties: USA, Wilson (hooking), 4:17; USA, Johnson (hooking), 8:02; USA, Esche (roughing), 9:51; RUS, Kovalchuk (cross-checking), 11:02.

Second Period - Scoring: 5, RUS, Radulov (Saprykin, Gorovikov), 1:36 (pp). Penalties: USA, Okposo (charging), :43; RUS, Korneyev (delay of game), 3:56; RUS, Tereschenko (interference), 7:14; USA, Ballard (cross-checking), 10:01; RUS, Vishnevsky (checking from behind), 12:31; RUS, Vishnevsky (game misconduct), 12:31.

Third Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Stempniak (high-sticking), 6:33; RUS, Radulov (tripping), 11:39; USA, Liles (slashing), 12:20; RUS, Proshkin (slashing), 12:20; USA, Foligno (tripping), 16:11.

Shots by Period
USA 8-12-7-27
RUS 16-7-9-32

Goaltenders
USA, Esche 60:00; 28-of-32
RUS, Bryzgalov 60:00 26-of-27
Power Play: USA 0-5; RUS 3-7
Penalties: USA 8-16; RUS 7-35
Referees: Jyri Petteri Ronn (FIN), Derek Zalaski (CAN)
Linesmen: Felix Winnekens (GER), Chris de Haan (CAN)
Attendance: 10,230
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