MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Team USA put an end to Russia’s winning streak at the 2017 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship edging the ‘Red Machine’ 5-3 in the final minutes of the global tournament’s closing group stage game at the Lanxess Arena in Germany’s Cologne.
"We should be not getting upset and must be getting ready for our next game, which will be very important," Russia’s leading scorer Artemi Panarin said after the match in an interview with Match-TV television channel.
Team USA was obviously dominant on the ice in the early seconds of the match and throughout the opening 20-minute stretch, however, it was Russia’s Nikita Gusev to uncork the first goal with less than eight minutes remaining in the period by stealing the puck and blasting a powerful shot into the net past by US goaltender Jimmy Howard.
The US team had numerous opportunities to score against Russia on power-plays as the ‘Red Machine’ served over half of the first period in the penalty booth, while the American team sat out just two minutes.
The score remained 1-0 before the first break, which also saw Russia’s Ivan Telegin being helped by medics to the lockers. The Russian forward was badly limping after he was struck by the puck in the left knee.
The American squad bounced back and tied the score in the opening minute of the middle period with a goal delivered by left winger Kevin Hayes. It took the Russians over seven minutes to take the lead again with a goal scored by defender Anton Belov making it 2-1.
The score was tied again late into the second period after US forward Brock Nelson assisted his teammate Dylan Larkin, who penetrated the Russian net temporarily leaving both teams with 2-2 draw.
As the clock was ticking off 3 minutes and 45 seconds left in the second period, Gusev scored his second goal in the game, but Russia’s advantage of 3-2 flashed on the scoreboard for less than 60 seconds.
The 25-year-old US forward, Kevin Hayes, also went to score his second goal in the match and tied the game at 3-3 ahead of the closing third period.
Both teams played evenly for the most time of the following period, but it was the Team USA to finally take the advantage over the Russians after Anders Lee neatly pushed a puck into the Russian goal on a power-play, bringing the score to 4-3 in favor of his squad.
With less than two minutes remaining, Russia’s Head Coach Oleg Znarok opted for the sixth field player on the ice, leaving the net open, and the US took the advantage of the situation scoring another goal to seal the final score at 5-3.
Boasting an impressive record of 35 scored and 10 missed goals Russia’s ice hockey team, dubbed the ‘Red Machine,’ started this year’s global tournament with an edgy penalty shootout win over Sweden (2-1) to proceed further with confident victories over Italy (10-1), Germany (6-3), Denmark (3-0), Slovakia (6-0), Latvia (5-0) and lost to the United States 3-5.
Team USA trailed Russia in their Group A before tonight’s match and currently packs a record of 31 scored and 14 missed goals after winning five and losing just one of six matches in the group stage.
The quarterfinal matches of the 2017 IIHF World Championship are scheduled to be held in Cologne and Paris this Thursday, May 18.
Defending champion Canada is playing in Group B in Paris, where they had been squared off against last year’s silver-medal winners Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway, France and Slovenia.
Canada currently tops Group B, having won five and ceded one of six matches it played (27 scored and 8 missed goals in total). The reigning champions are facing their long-time rivals Finland tonight in France.