TURIN, Italy (AP) - Brian Rolston's shot bounced off the goalie, struck the crossbar and sent a water bottle flying on its way into the net.
Needing all that effort for one goal, who knows what it will take to lift the U.S. men's hockey team to Olympic victory. Trouble is, the club has only one more chance to figure it out.
Rolston scored one of the Americans' three power-play goals Tuesday, but on a night they finally found their offense, the defense and goaltending wasn't up to par in a 5-4 loss to Russia.
"I wouldn't say it's frustrating, it's more maddening than anything else," coach Peter Laviolette said.
After managing only two goals in two consecutive losses, the U.S. team broke out in a game that could only serve them in the confidence department. It didn't quite work out that way.
The Americans (1-3-1), the fourth-place team in Group B, were already locked into a quarterfinal matchup Wednesday with Group A-winning Finland (5-0). As the No. 2 team in Group B, the Russians (4-1) will face Canada (3-2) in the quarterfinals.
"It's almost like a playoff game where you are playing a great defensive team with great goaltending," U.S. forward Doug Weight said. "If we don't get a goal early - if something bad happens - we have to keep playing our game for 60 minutes."
The U.S. can win the scoring chances fight every game as Laviolette suggests, but if the scoreboard isn't in their favor against Finland, the Americans will truly be finished.
"I don't think that they're down," Laviolette said. "We just remain confident that we're going to win a hockey game."
Rolston, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez all scored man-advantage goals, but the U.S. allowed as many goals by Russia as it did in the three previous games of the tournament. Each time they did score, their faces displayed surprise along with their joy.
The first goal was Rolston's trick shot, the second was nearly as difficult.
After Maxim Sokolov stopped a long shot, he then turned aside the rebound he left in front. Gomez got to that bouncing puck, too, and slammed it into the goalie's pads. It took one more whack from Gionta, Gomez's New Jersey Devils teammate, to finally make the work pay off.
"A couple of bounces finally went our way," Gomez said. "That's what you need in these tournaments, the breaks. We got them, but so did the Russians."
Gomez got one of his own when he deflected in a shot 5 minutes into the third period to tie it at 3, but Alexander Ovechkin's goal 4:55 later put Russia on top again.
"It seems like we always have shootouts with these guys," Weight said.
With the Americans scheduled to play again Wednesday in the single-elimination medal round, goalie Rick DiPietro got the night off; Robert Esche started in his place.
Erik Cole swung behind the net and stuffed a shot past Sokolov at 10:38 to tie it at 4, but it took just another 1:14 for Russia to take the lead again - this time for good - as Alex Kovalev ripped a shot past Esche inside the left post.
He finished with 16 saves in what was likely his only appearance in these games. As is the norm, Laviolette wouldn't reveal who would start in goal against Finland.
Early on, it looked as if the U.S. would struggle in all facets of the game.
The Americans brought in a woeful power play that had connected just four times in 22 opportunities.
At the end of the Americans' first power play, Chris Drury attempted a pass along the blue line but had it intercepted by Alexander Korolyuk, who streaked down the ice alone and scored at 9:27 of the first.
Given another chance less than a minute later, Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Evgeni Malkin finished a short-handed 2-on-1 with Darius Kasparaitis by beating Esche.
"They used their power to try to get it to the crease and jam it," Russian captain Alexei Kovalev said. "We tried to use the pass and our speed."
Russia had top goalie Evgeni Nabokov in goal for the first period, but pulled him in favor of Sokolov, who made 23 saves over the final 40 minutes.
Nabokov will be back against Canada.