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Trouba pulls U.S. even after two periods

by Mike G. Morreale

The United States and Russia are all even after two periods of Friday's 2013 World Junior Championship matchup in Ufa, Russia.

Defenseman Jacob Trouba pulled the United States into a 1-1 tie when he ripped a slap shot from the point past Russian goalie Andrei Makarov 13:18 into the second. Alex Galchenyuk gathered the puck in the right circle before feathering a pass to Trouba at the point. Trouba's shot appeared to tip off the leg of Russian forward Daniil Zharkov, who went down to one knee to block the attempt.

The Russians played with much more energy in the early stages of the second, but the U.S. dictated much of the action in the end. The U.S. held a 17-11 edge in shots in the second and hold a 27-19 advantage for the game.

U.S. goalie John Gibson needed to make a great save less than three minutes into the second to keep his team within one. Rocco Grimaldi attempted an ill-advised cross-ice pass in the offensive zone that sent Zharkov on a 2-on-0 break in the opposite direction. As Zharkov entered the left circle, U.S. defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere raced back to impede his path to the slot, forcing the crafty Russian to shot a little sooner.

Gibson received some help five minutes into the second when Yaroslav Dyblenko's blast from the right point rang off the short-side post on Gibson.

The U.S. couldn't take advantage of its first power-play opportunity of the period when Kirill Dyakov was whistled for tripping at 5:12. The Grind Line, consisting of U.S. forwards Blake Pietila, Ryan Hartman and Cole Bardreau, did a great job on the forecheck throughout. The trio played a big role in forcing the Russian penalty late in the period that led to the U.S. goal.

The Russians 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 Gibson.

Makarov, an undrafted free-agent signee of the Buffalo Sabres, made an extraordinary save on John Gaudreau less than a minute earlier. 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.

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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