PRAGUE - Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich./St. John’s) made 26 saves, but the U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Russia, 4-0, here tonight in semifinal action at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship.
Team USA will face the Czech Republic tomorrow (May 17) in the bronze-medal game. Puck drop is set for 10:15 a.m. ET at O2 Arena in Prague and the game will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.
"The final score wound up 4-0, but it really felt like a 1-0 game," said Todd Richards, head coach of the 2015 U.S. Men's National Team. "I'm proud of our guys and the way they played. It was a heck of a hockey game between two very good teams. Unfortunately for us, we came out on the short end."
The U.S. nearly opened the scoring just 2:36 into the contest when Mark Arcobello (Milford, Conn./Arizona Coyotes) found Jimmy Vesey (North Reading, Mass./Harvard University) alone in front for a chance that was turned aside by Sergei Bobrovski. The duo created another scoring chance with 8:25 remaining when Arcobello again found Vesey in front for a shot that was deflected wide.
Three minutes later, Steve Moses’ (Leominster, Mass./Jokerit) wraparound chance deflected off Matt Hendricks (Blaine, Minn./Edmonton Oilers) and bounced in the crease before being swept away.
With :38 remaining in the opening period, Russia’s Nikolai Kulemin sent a centering feed to Evgeni Malkin for a quality scoring chance that forced Hellebuyck to make his best save of the period.
The teams traded chances early in the second frame, but neither was able to convert. Russia's best opportunity came eight minutes into the period when Ilya Kovalchuk fired a one-timer from the left circle that Hellebuyck was able to cover.
The U.S. controlled play for the last seven minutes of the period beginning with a chance from Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./Boston University). Eichel entered the zone on the right side and fired a shot on net that forced Bobrovski to give up a rebound to Anders Lee (Edina, Mass./Boston University) whose chance hit a skate and went wide. Four minutes later, Vesey found the puck in front for a backhanded effort that was blocked by a body in front.
With less than two minutes remaining in the middle frame, Eichel created two more chances that were turned aside by Bobrovski. After his first attempt from the right side hit Bobrovski high in the chest, Eichel skated around the net and found the puck near the left circle for another chance that the Russian netminder was able to hold.
Despite entering the third period outshooting Russia, 23-21, it was Russia who opened the scoring. With 12:41 remaining in the final period, Sergei Mozyakin skated in and fired a shot from the hash marks that beat Hellebuyck glove-side. Three minutes later, Alex Ovechkin collected the puck at the point, cut inside, and fired in a low shot to give Russia a 2-0 lead.
Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./University of Michigan) nearly brought the U.S. within one a minute later while shorthanded. Hendricks won the puck in the left corner and fired a pass to a rushing Larkin who was unable to beat Bobvroski.
Vadim Shipachyov made it 3-0 on a rebound attempt with 4:32 remaining and Malkin scored an empty-netter with 1:25 remaining to finish the game.
The U.S. finished the game with a 35-30 advantage in shots on goal.
NOTES: Justin Faulk was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Team USA won 61 percent of the faceoffs in the contest, led by Dylan Larkin, who won 14-of-16 draws ... The U.S. has a chance to capture the bronze medal tomorrow vs. the Czech Republic. If it does, it will mean the U.S. has medaled in two of the last three world championships, a feat the country has not accomplished since 1952.