The Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League fell short of advancing to the gold-medal game of the 2013 Junior Club World Cup after losing 3-2 to HPK of Finland in the semifinal round Thursday at Omsk Arena.
The Fighting Saints, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to make it interesting, will face Dynamo-Shinnik of Belarus in the bronze-medal game Saturday. HPK will play the hometown Omsk Hawks in the gold-medal match later in the day.
"I liked our compete level and I thought we battled hard," Dubuque coach Matt Shaw told the USHL website. "We tried to muster some emotion after our [6-4] win against Omsk on Thursday and I don't think we lacked in that. I thought Finland played a very good game and give them credit."
HPK grabbed the lead on a first-period power-play goal by Santeri Vuoti and made it 3-0 when Eetu Ville Arkiomaa and Patrik Virta scored in the second period. Virta's goal at 16:32 of the second gave HPK a seemingly safe three-goal edge.
The Fighting Saints pared the margin to 3-1 when Dylan Gambrell took a pass from Andrew Gaus and fired a shot into the net 1:03 after Virta's goal. Gaus pulled Dubuque within 3-2 when he took a feed from Shane Eiserman and ripped a one-timer past HPK goalie Joonas Toivonen less than three minutes into the third.
Despite holding a 12-6 shot advantage over HPK in the final period, Dubuque couldn't score the equalizer. The Fighting Saints were awarded a power play with three minutes left in regulation but were unable to convert the opportunity. Shaw opted to pull goalie Christian Frey with 44 seconds left but the Finnish team held on for the victory. Dubuque outshot HPK 24-20.
Shaw will give his players the day off Friday before returning to the ice Saturday.
"The Belarus team has a lot of team structure, much like Finland," Shaw said. "Finland has talent but they also played a team-structured game and that's like Belarus. They rely on that and we'll have to be ready for it."