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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Russia pulls pin on U.S. repeat

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MALMO, Sweden -- Russia beat the United States 5-3 in quarter-final play at the world junior hockey championship on Thursday, rallying to take the lead on Nakita Zadorov's two power-play goals.

Zadorov scored on 5-on-3 advantages in a 1:01 span in the second period to give Russia a 4-3 lead. The 6-4 defenceman plays for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League.

Russia will face Sweden, a 6-0 winner over Slovakia, in the semifinals Saturday. In the other quarterfinals, Canada beat Switzerland 4-1, and Finland topped the Czech Republic 5-3.

"We want to play Sweden," Zadorov said before the Swedes' victory. "It was a close game last time (3-2 loss), and we're going to watch some video and play better."

Pavel Buchnevich also scored twice for Russia, Buffalo Sabres centre Mikhail Grigorenko added a goal, and Andrei Vasilevski made 30 saves.

"The power plays were the game-changer," said Grigorenko, who has two goals and an assist in 18 games for Buffalo this season. "We scored two goals. We took the lead, and we kept it. Those two 5-on-3s in a row were the key.

"This game made us a better team today than we were yesterday. I think we deserved to win. Hopefully, we can keep the same energy, same compete level for the semifinals."

New Jersey Devils farmhand Stefan Matteau, Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman and Wisconsin's Nic Kerdiles had first-period goals for the United States, the tournament winner last year in Russia.

"Penalties," said Matteau, off for tripping when Zadorov scored the tying goal. "They buried their chances. The refs did their job. I know North American teams coming over here ... maybe the officiating is different, but we still gave them a reason to call penalties. That's what shot us in the foot. But we got power plays, too. We didn't finish."

"It's not a good feeling, but I think it will make us all better players," Gillies said.

Russia has won the under-20 event 13 times, the first nine as the Soviet Union.

Sweden, 5-0-0 in the tournament, is seeking its third title and second in three years.

"We're getting closer -- two games away," Colorado College defenceman Gustav Olofsson said. "It feels more exciting and more fun to play when you get closer to gold."

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg had two goals and two assists.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 3, 2014 C4

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