In a game of great significance in Group B play, the United States topped Russia in a thrilling game that determined the winner of the group and ultimately the winner of the bye to the semi-finals of the tournament.
|Russia - USA 2:3 (0:1, 1:0, 1:2)|
|Goals and Assists: 29. Cherepanov (Filatov), 55. Tikhonov (Korolev, Sayustov) - 12. Ruegsegger (Okposo, Schroeder), 44. vanRiemsdyk (Rakhshani), 48. Carman (Geoffrion, Summers).
Referee: Larking, Ronnmark (SWE) - Blümel (CZE), Jobson (CAN).
Powerplay goals: 1:1.
|Russia: Bobrovsky - Kalimulin, Kurbatov, Doronin, Seleznev, Voinov, Alexandrov, Chudinov - Tikhonov, Sayustov, Golubtsov - Filatov, Anisimov, Dadonov - Gordeyev, Bodrov, Kugryshev - Milekhin, Mamin, Korolev.|
|USA: Smith - Summers, Blum, Fairchild, McBain, Strait, Sanguinetti, Montgomery, Cole - Rakhshani, Ruegsegger, Okposo - vanRiemsdyk, Wilson, Schroeder - Pacioretty, Carman, Sweatt - Geoffrion, Rust, Flynn.
In a game that was reminisce of Lake Placid and the 1980 Olympic games, the United States beat Team Russia in their third game of the 2008 World Junior Championships in thrilling fashion. This gives the United States the bye into the semi-finals of the WJC. There is no way that they will not win the Group B preliminary round – they now hold the tie breaker with Russia with one game left to play for each team.
Penalties again told the story of this game. Tyler Ruegsegger opened the scoring for the United States halfway through the first period. On the power play, Kyle Okposo worked the puck around to Jordan Schroeder who ripped the puck on net. The rebound off of Bobrovsky bounced right to the stick of Ruegsegger who was sitting back door. He easily tapped it in for the goal.
Nearly halfway through the third period, Russia evened the score and made the game extremely interesting. Russia was handcuffed for most of the 1st period with penalties – often two man disadvantages, and they were unable to generate much activity in the offensive zone. Alexei Cherepanov, a New York Rangers draft pick, scored for Russia. He was streaking in the zone and a rebound bounced to him. Jeremy Smith was caught for the United States, there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Early in the 3rd period, highly touted Philadelphia Flyers prospect James vanRiemsdyk scored the strangest goal of the tournament thus far. He tried to deke Bobrovsky, and was successful, but he lost the puck but it ended up going in anyways. This gave the United States the go-ahead goal.
However, that goal would prove to not be enough. Mike Carman’s goal, his second of the tournament, ended up being the game winner. His goal came just three minutes after vanRiemsdyk’s. With less than six minutes left in the game, Russia answered with a goal of their own. Viktor Tikhonov was the recipient of a prime rebound that gave him the puck right in front of the net. He put it through Smith’s five-hole as the 4,220 on hand at the game erupted.
Although the United States took a few penalties there-after, Russia was not able to solve the US penalty killing. It’s only the sixth time that the US has beaten Russia in its last 24 tries in the World Juniors.
“It feels great right now, it feels good to get the win,” Mike Carman said. “I’m pretty tired right now,” he continued. “I got a little bit out of character [with his 4 penalties], but I’ll just have to mend that next game.”
“I thought it was extremely competitive. I think Russia showed a lot of character in the first period [with all of the penalties]. They fought through some adversity and we couldn’t find a way to capitalize early. They really challenged us in the 3rd period. They’re an excellent team and they’re well coached. Our team played with a real deep belief in themselves. They have a real commitment to team play,” Coach John Hynes said. “I thought as the game wore on, we had real good survival skills to make the right decisions at certain times, late in the third period. I was proud of the fact that we took another step forward in growing as a team tonight,” Hynes said.
Russia’s Viktor Tikhonov also weighed in on the game. “We were quite nervous in the first period, but I think by the 3rd we relaxed quite a bit. There were a lot of Russian fans here, so it was nice, I just wish we could’ve won.”