Russia has had its share of scares at these World Juniors, including a hair-raising 4-3 overtime win over lowly Denmark in the quarter-final. But that doesn’t matter now.
Yegor Korshkov got the winner on a brilliant unassisted effort with 2:04 left in the second period. He faked a shot at the right point, performed a spinnerama, looped through the faceoff circle and cut in front to tuck the puck inside U.S. goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s left post. It gave Korshkov his team-leading seventh point.
Against Finland, the swift-skating Russians will vie for their first gold medal since 2011 (Buffalo) and 14th of all-time, including the Soviet Union era. They took silver last year versus Canada.
The Americans will seek consolation in the bronze medal game versus Sweden. They have won bronze four times before (1986, 1992, 2007, 2011). It’s a disappointing outcome for a squad loaded with NHL-drafted talent.
The U.S. has now lost five straight World Junior games to Russia, including its last two quarter-finals in 2014 and 2015. More shockingly, it has never won a medal round game against Russia since the IIHF began using the playoff system in 1996.
Pavel Kraskovski had the other goal for Russia.
Christian Dvorak scored for the Americans, who are out of the running for their first gold medal since the 2013 World Juniors in Ufa, Russia.