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Russia edges US 3-2 in semifinals at world hockey championship

NHL.com @NHL

BERN, Switzerland - Russia will get the chance to defend its title at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Konstantin Gorovikov scored on a power play when a shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off his back and into the net with 1:47 left in the third period, lifting Russia to a 3-2 semifinal win over the United States on Friday.

Russia will play in Sunday's final against Canada or Sweden, who meet in the other semifinal later Friday.

The U.S. will play for the bronze medal Sunday against the loser of the semifinal.

"We came here to get a medal - the tournament isn't over for us," said U.S. coach Ron Wilson, who just finished his first season behind the Toronto Maple Leafs bench.

The U.S. took the lead in the second on a goal by captain Dustin Brown. But goals from Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Frolov gave the Russians a 2-1 lead.

The Americans evened things up when Kyle Okposo scored late in the second.

"We were very unlucky on two of their goals. Shots which were going wide hit somebody," said Wilson. "I'm very proud of our team for the effort we gave."

Ilya Bryzgalov had 18 saves for Russia while Robert Esche made 21 stops for the Americans.

The young U.S. team started the game at a higher intensity than it showed against the Russians last Saturday, when an early lead turned into a 4-1 deficit within 17 minutes.

Esche made two pad saves before denying Oleg Saprykin in the crease and Alexei Morozov on an open shot from the right circle.

The U.S. game plan included unsettling star forward Kovalchuk, with Brown keeping close tabs on him throughout.

The U.S. scored at 3:46 of the second when Brown was rewarded for his hard work on defence.

The Los Angeles Kings captain intercepted Vitali Atyushov's lazy pass through his own zone, deked Bryzgalov and buried a shot in the right side.

Russia tied it at 11:20 when Kovalchuk managed to control the puck off a quick faceoff to fire a shot from the edge of the right circle.

Kovalchuk came at the Americans again to assist on the go-ahead goal, for his 14th point of the tournament.

The Atlanta Thrashers' captain skated out of his end along the left boards, crossed the ice and fired a shot from the right circle that hit Frolov and bounced past Esche at 14:25.

"Ilya was fired up. Hats off to Russia, they got it done," said defenceman Ron Hainsey, an Atlanta teammate of Kovalchuk. "It was a thrill to play in a real good game."

After failing to convert on its first power-play of the game, the Americans quickly got an even-strength goal.

The 21-year-old Okposo connected on a one-timer off Hainsey's pass from the left circle.

The teams traded power-play chances early in the third and Okposo struck a post before the U.S. took just its third penalty with less than four minutes left. The hooking call on T.J. Oshie proved to be decisive.

Alex Radulov fired a shot from the right circle that hit Gorovikov's back and bounced into the top left corner of Esche's net.

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