KINGSTON, Ont. - In the final exhibition game before the world junior hockey championship, the United States looked like a gold-medal contender and Russia looked like a team that will have its hands full beating anyone at the tournament.
Before a sellout crowd of 5,375 last night at the K-Rock Centre, St. Louis Blues prospect Aaron Palushaj had a hat trick as the Americans beat the listless Russians 5-1. The score likely flattered Russia, which didn't even have a shot in the first period, though the shot-keeper appeared to miss one on a good chance by Dmitry Kugryshev.
The US outshot Russia 40-17.
Thomas McCollum got the start for the Americans in net for the second game in a row.
Russia started Danila Alistratov in goal and then inserted Vadim Zhelobnyuk at the start of the third period.
Russia meets Latvia in its tournament opener on Friday.