For the second time in as many years, the United States found itself opposite Russia in the World Juniors’ quarterfinals. Once again, it was the Russians that came out on top.
New York Rangers prospect Igor Shestyorkin stood tall Friday afternoon, turning aside 39 of 41 American shots to hand Russia a 3-2 victory. That brought him up to a .949 save percentage in the tournament. It helped that his teammates Ivan Barbashev and Alexander Sharov each found the back of the net in the first period to give Russia an early 2-0 lead.
The United States was never able to even things after falling behind early, although Lightning prospect Anthony DeAngelo and Zach Werenski each scored for the United States to keep the game close. Sergei Tolchinski chipped in what proved to be the game-winner on a power-play at 1:27 of the third period.
Russia will take on the winner of Finland vs. Sweden. The fact that the Russians are playing in the semifinals will help salvage what was shaping up to be a rough tournament for them after they went to a shootout with Denmark and lost to the Czech Republic and Sweden.
The United States went 2-1-0-1 in the Preliminary round, including a shootout win against Finland and a 5-3 loss to Canada on New Year’s Eve.