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Russia scores, but trails Sweden after two periods

by Mike G. Morreale

Russia finally picked up its game in the second period to pull to within 2-1 against Sweden in their semifinal match at the 2013 World Junior Championship.

The Russians pulled to within a goal of Sweden when defenseman Andrei Mironov scored his first of the tournament off a blast from the top of right circle at the 7:32 mark. The goal by Mironov, assisted by Nail Yakupov and Kirill Kapustin, was just the fourth shot of the game for Russia.

The goal certainly ignited the host country at Ufa Arena, however, as it began to dictate much of the play from that point. Sweden has out-shot Russia 25-12 through two periods.

It's a bit of a surprise Sweden has limited Russia to this point in the game, considering the team is without three key defensemen due to injuries -- Oscar Klefbom (shoulder), Jonas Brodin (clavicle) and Hampus Lindholm (concussion).

Russia goalie Andrey Vasilevskiy has kept his team in the game by making 23 saves.

Sweden goalie Niklas Lundstrom, who has 11 saves, made his best stop with his team shorthanded and ahead by one goal midway through the second. That's when Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko took a pass from Nikita Kucherov at the left post, but was denied by the pad of Lundstrom.

Less than three minutes later, Daniil Zharkov fired a shot from the right circle that rang off the crossbar.

The winner of this game will play the United States in the gold-medal game Saturday (8 a.m., NHLN-US, TSN). The loser will play Canada for the bronze medal (4 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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