Russia defeated the United States 5-3 to conclude the opening day of this year’s preliminary round at the world juniors.
The Russians got off to a hot start, dominating the Americans early on before Vasili Ponomaryov netted the first goal. Soon after, U.S. captain Cam York flicked a shot through traffic from the point that trickled past netminder Yaroslav Askarov to tie things up before the intermission.
However, things got out of hand for the Americans in the second frame. Zakhar Bardakov netted a goal on a breakaway just under four minutes into the period. Then, Ponomaryov picked up defenseman Jake Sanderson’s errant pass into the slot and sniped his second goal of the game to take a 3-1 lead.
Minutes later, U.S. goaltender Spencer Knight allowed his fourth goal on 12 shots after misplaying the puck. As a result, Dustin Wolf replaced Knight.
The U.S showed some fight in the third, dominating possession and peppering the Russians with shots. John Farinacci cut the deficit to 4-2 midway through the final frame before Trevor Zegras brought the Americans within a goal with just over two minutes remaining. However, it proved to be too little too late, as Russia scored an empty-netter and held on for the win.
Wolf stopped all 11 shots he faced after relieving Knight in the second period. York was named the player of the game for the American side while Ponomaryov earned the honor for Russia.
The U.S. will next take on Austria at 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Russians will face the Czech Republic at 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.