HELSINKI, May 7 (R-Sport) – Yevgeni Medvedev scored the game-winner with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period as Russia beat the United States 5-3 at the world hockey championship on Tuesday.
With a gaggle of red and white jerseys crowding the American net, Medvedev managed to sneak the puck past a sprawled-out goalie Ben Bishop, sending the largely Russian crowd at Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena into hysterics.
The win moves the Russians, now undefeated in three preliminary round games, into first place in the Helsinki group while the U.S. stays tied for third with Slovakia.
Ilya Bryzgalov, who shut out Latvia in Russia’s tournament opener on Saturday, finished with 19 saves against an American squad that started strong but appeared to tire as they game wore on.
With the game tied 1-1 mid-way through the first period, the Americans did what they’ve done best three games into the world championship: score with a man advantage.
Paul Stastny netted their tournament-leading fifth power-play goal at 13:28 of the first period for a 2-1 lead. It was Stastny’s second goal of the game and fifth point of the tournament.
But less than one minute later Ilya Kovalchuk walked into the American zone and beat Bishop with an easy weak side wrist shot to tie the game.
The veteran winger has seemingly shrugged off concerns about a shoulder injury that hampered him in the final month of the NHL season with the New Jersey Devils, scoring a tournament-best five goals in three games.
Russia had a chance to close out the first period on top after Erik Johnson was nailed for slashing with three minutes left, but they managed only one shot against a tough American penalty kill didn’t allow its first goal until Alexander Radulov scored the game’s final goal late in the third period.
Back in the second, defenseman Matt Hunwick gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead at 7:09 on a blue-line one-timer from Aaron Palushaj that sailed over Bryzgalov and hit the cross bar before bouncing into the net.
Alexei Tereshenko scored the game-tying goal for the Russians at 11:19 of the second.
Bishop, who entered the game having stopped 37 of 41 shots in two games for the U.S., finished with 25 saves.
The game was the first world championship meeting between the two countries since 2009, when Russia downed the U.S. 3-2 in the semifinals. Russia moves to 5-4-1 against the U.S. in world championship play.
The Americans will look to get back in the win column against Finland on Wednesday. Russia, meanwhile, plays France on Thursday.