The U.S. men’s ice hockey team’s quest for a second consecutive medal at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship ended at the hands of undefeated Russia, 4-3, in the quarterfinals in Bratislava, Slovakia on Thursday.
The Americans didn’t go down without a fight and a late push for the equalizer, however. Trailing by a pair of goals, the U.S. pulled goaltender Cory Schneider, of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, for the extra attacker. It paid off when Patrick Kane’s crossing pass through traffic to Chicago Blackhawks teammate Alex DeBrincat ended in a goal with just under three minutes to play.
Unable to get the fourth goal to extend the game and possibly the tournament, the U.S. was eliminated while Russia will move on and play the lowest remaining seed.
The U.S. team, which is made up largely of NHL players whose teams aren’t part of the Stanley Cup Finals, won the bronze medal last year but the quarterfinal contest didn’t start as planned.
A mistake in their own end just over a minute into the first period turned into the puck ending up in their net after Nikita Gusev picked up a rebound bouncing around in the crease.
Mikhail Sergachyov made it 2-0 on the power play with Johnny Gaudreau in the box for hooking.
The U.S. picked it up in the second period, however, and defenseman Brady Skjei scored to make it a one-goal game. Kane, who became the United States’ all-time leading scorer at the world championships during the preliminary round, tallied an assist on the goal.
Early in the third Kirill Kaprizov scored to make it 3-1, and although U.S. defenseman Noah Hanifan’s wrister from the top of the circles once again cut Russia’s lead to one, Mikhail Gregorinko answered right back and made it 4-2. That goal proved to be the game winner.
Fans will not get a chance to see the men’s national team again until next spring at the 2020 men’s world championship in Switzerland.