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Russia opens early lead on United States

by Mike G. Morreale

The Russian National Junior Team has gained the early edge on the United States in the opening period of its 2013 World Junior Championship matchup in Ufa, Russia, on Friday.

The host country opened a 1-0 lead just 2:42 into the first when Albert Yarullin one-timed a shot from the left circle off a pass from Nikita Nesterov on the power play. Nail Yakupov also assisted on the goal, which appeared to deflect off U.S. defenseman Jake McCabe in front before eluding goalie John Gibson.

Makarov, an undrafted free-agent signee of the Buffalo Sabres, made an extraordinary stop on John Gaudreau less than a minute before his team gained the lead. Gaudreau broke in 3-on-1 before taking a pass at the right post from J.T. Miller. Makarov slid to his left and denied the U.S. forward with a nifty toe save to keep the game scoreless.

Makarov made 10 saves and Gibson turned aside seven for the United States.

The United States was given a power-play opportunity just 15 seconds after the Russian goal, but could not solve Makarov. The U.S. is fortunate the deficit wasn't greater, as it had to deny the Russians on three other power-play chances, including quick back-to-back opportunities midway through the period.

The U.S. team finalized its roster early on Friday when it opted to keep hard-hitting defenseman Patrick Sieloff. The announcement now gives the United States its required 23-man roster. Sieloff was chosen as the seventh defender over Boston University's Matt Grzelcyk.

Sieloff, selected in the second round (No. 42) by the Calgary Flames at the 2012 NHL Draft, has nine points and 69 penalty minutes in 34 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires this season.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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