World Juniors: USA falls to Russia

After dismantling Germany to open the World Junior Championship earlier in the week, the United States faced its first real test of the tournament Friday when it faced host country Russia.

The United States struggled to break through on goaltender Andrei Makarov and dropped a 2-1 decision to fall to 1-1 in the tournament.

The loss drops them into third place in Pool B. With the win, Russia moves into sole possession of second place, just one point behind Canada.

It's not going to get any easier for Team USA. Its next game will be played Sunday against Canada.

Defenseman Jacob Trouba, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Winnipeg Jets, scored the lone goal for the United States on a power play late in the second period to tie the score. Trouba's goal was set up by Alex Galchenyuk, who was perhaps USA's best player for the second consecutive game.

Vladimir Tkachyov scored the game-winner early in the third period when he crashed to the net and scored on a rebound, beating goaltender John Gibson. The goal was set up by a fantastic individual effort from 17-year-old Valeri Nichushkin. He skated right through Team USA's most physical (and best) defensive pairing and blew past defenseman Seth Jones, the likely No. 1 overall draftee in 2013, to create the initial chance.

It's not a play that will be showing up on Jones' highlight package at the draft. He had a wonderful front-row seat for Tkachyov's goal.

The United States had a power-play opportunity in the final two minutes but struggled to set up in the offensive zone and failed to get the equalizer.

Even though they ended up firing 41 shots at Makarov, USA coach Phil Housley told NHL Network that he felt his team passed up even more opportunities to get more pucks at the net.

Canada comes back, loses two players to ejection

Team Canada had to overcome a pair of two-goal deficits in its come-from-behind 6-3 win against Slovakia on Friday.

The comebacks were made even more impressive by the fact that Canada lost two forwards during the game due to ejections. One of them might end up costing them one of their players for their next game, pending an IIHF hearing.

J.C. Lipon will have a disciplinary hearing Saturday for this hit on Tomas Mikus.

Mikus not only returned to the game, but scored on the ensuing power play to give Slovakia a 2-0 lead.

Later, Anthony Carmara was given a game misconduct of his own for this hit on Patrik Luza. Carmara is not facing any supplemental discipline from the IIHF at this time.

Canada was already playing without Boone Jenner after he was suspended three games for a late hit in their final pre-tournament tune-up game against Sweden earlier in the week.

Juniors scene

Here are the standings after the first three days of the tournament.

Pool A standings
Team Games Wins OT Wins OT Losses Losses Points
 Sweden 2 1 1 0 0 5
 Switzerland 2 1 0 1 0 4
 Czech Republic 2 1 0 0 1 3
 Finland 2 1 0 0 1 3
 Latvia 2 0 0 0 2 0
Pool B standings
Team Games Wins OT Wins OT Losses Losses Points
 Canada 2 2 0 0 0 6
 Russia 2 1 1 0 0 5
 USA 2 1 0 0 1 3
 Slovakia 2 0 0 1 1 1
 Germany 2 0 0 0 2 0

• In other action on Friday, the Czech Republic knocked off Finland, 3-1, while Switzerland fell to Sweden in a shootout, 3-2 [IIHF]

• The schedule for Saturday is as follows (times in ET):

Sweden vs. Latvia (7 a.m.)
Russia vs. Germany (9 a.m.)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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