The U.S. dropped a tight pool play game against host Russia by the score of 2-1 on Friday morning.
The game could have gone either way — goaltending was very good on both sides — but Russia made one more play in the third period and came away with the key victory.
All possibilities are still out there for the Americans right now. They still could end up with a bye to the semifinals and they still could end up in relegation for the second year in a row.
If the U.S. loses to Canada at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, it will need to beat Slovakia to avoid relegation. Prior to the tournament, that seemed like a fairly easy task, but not anymore.
The Slovaks took Russia to overtime in their first game, then held a 3-1 lead midway through Friday’s game against Canada. The Canadians ended up winning 6-3, but Slovakia was impressive nonetheless (shots were 30-28 in that game).
So, there are two key games coming up for the Americans.
To read the game story on the U.S.-Russia contest, go here.
RUSSIA 2, USA 1
First period — 1. RUS, Albert Yarullin (Nikita Nesterov, Nail Yakupov) 2:42 (pp)
Second period — 2. USA, Jacob Trouba (Alex Galchenyuk) 13:18 (pp)
Third period — 3. RUS, Vladimir Tkachyov (Valeri Nichushkin, Artyom Sergeyev) 4:10
Goalie saves — USA: John Gibson 28; RUS: Andrei Marakov 41