USA Suffers First World Junior Loss
Rangers 2011 first-round draft pick J.T. Miller and his U.S. teammates battled hard against the host Russians on Friday at the World Junior Championship tournament in Ufa, but came up just short in a 2-1 Group B preliminary-round loss.
Russia broke a 1-1 tie with the game-winner when Vladimir Tkachyov banged in the rebound of a shot by Valeri Nichushkin at 4:10 of the third period. Team USA was unable to get the equalizer down the stretch, even after getting a late power play over the game's final 1:32.
Miller was again the center on Team USA's No. 2 line, skating between college stars Rocco Grimaldi of North Dakota and John Gaudreau of Boston College. He finished the game with three shots on goal and also won 10 of 17 faceoffs.
The difference in the game was Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov, who stopped 41 of 42 shots, including all 15 he faced in the third period. Team USA outshot Russia 42-30 for the game.
Miller's best scoring chances came early in the first and second periods. Less than two minutes into the game, he found Grimaldi with a perfect centering pass from the left circle, but Makarov made a tough save. Just under seven minutes into the second period, Miller deflected a shot from the high slot that Makarov also managed to stop.
Albert Yarullin scored the first goal of the game for Russia on a power play at 2:42 of the first period. Jacob Trouba evened the score for the Americans with another power-play goal at 13:18 of the second period. Although Miller was a regular on the U.S. power play, he was not on the ice when Trouba scored.
Team USA (1-1) continues it Group B round-robin play on Sunday, when the Americans face Canada. All USA games can be seen on the NHL Network.
Did you see the game? Let us know what you thought of it and how you think the U.S. will fare against Canada on Sunday.