Russia 3 – United States 2
::: There highest finish in five years already in the bag, the United States attempted to make the finals of the World Championships for just the third time ever.
Russia on the other hand was looking to make their second straight final.
Thanks to a power play goal with 1:47 remaining in regulation, the Russians will be playing for their second straight World Championship title with a 3-2 victory in Berne.
The United States on the other hand fall to 2-6 in World Championship semifinals. They will play Sweden for bronze Sunday as Canada beat the Swedes Friday night 3-1.
Sunday's bronze medal game will be broadcast live at 10am on universalsports.com
It was a slow, drawn out first period as there wasn’t a whole lot of action in the stats count. When it was all said and done, Russia owned a 7-6 advantage in the shot department and the United States Kyle Okposo (NY Islanders) was whistled for the only penalty (slashing), with 1:43 left in the first.
The United States would jump on the board first, 3:46 into the second. Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown took the puck off Russian defenseman’s Vitali Atyushov stick in the US offensive zone, walked in on Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix) and beat the netminder five-hole for his fourth of the tournament.
It would take about eight minutes for Russia to get another shot on goal after Brown’s goal, but the very next shot knotted the score.
With a draw in the US zone, Sergei Zinoviev won the draw and sent the puck to Ilya Kovalchuk just to the left of him. The Thrashers sniper took a quick shot on Robert Esche and beat the US goalie 11:20 into the second.
The Russians were rejuvenated by the goal. They got several good chances on Esche right after, putting the pressure on the Americans.
That pressure resulted in their second goal, just 3:05 later. Kovalchuk pressured David Backes into a turnover in the Russian zone and then flew up the left side of the ice. Getting into the US zone, he worked his way right, across ice and fired a shot that hit Alexander Frolov in front of the net and into the left corner of the net. Advantage Russia: 2-1.
A penalty and some pretty passing got the United States even with just over two minutes to play in the period. Alexei Tereschenko was sent to the box for diving with 4:05 left in the period. Working on the man advantage, John Michael Liles (Colorado) sent a cros-ice feed to fellow defenseman Ron Hainsey (Atlanta). There, Hainsey sent another cross-ice feed to Okposo where the Islanders rookie one-timed it from the right slot into the open net.
Russia thought they had their second lead of the night about four minutes into the third. With Okposo in the box for slashing, Kovalchuk sent a blast from the point. The puck looked like it went in, causing Kovalchuk to raise his arms in celebration, but in fact it glanced off the right side of the net.
Deadlocked at two and both teams looking for the winner, Russia and the United States had their opporunities. The Russians tinged one off the pipe with a point shot on a power play attempt with 6:40 left. The United States had their opportunities, getting two, three chances on a power play of their own late in the game.
Unfortunately it would be the power play that gave Russia the victory. Putting pressure in the US zone, Saint Louis forward TJ Oshie was called for hooking, trying to prevent an opportunity with 3:29 left. After several close calls on earlier attempts, Russia cashed in, sending them to the finals. Alexander Radulov’s shot from the right face-off circle hit K Gorovikov in front of the net and past Esche with 1:47 left.
The United States would pull Esche with 1:19 for the extra attacker and despite several close chances on Bryzgalov, they came up empty.
Keith Ballard finished with 13:32 of ice time.