The United States fell short of its bid for its second gold medal in three years today, losing to Russia, 3-2, in the final game of the World Under-18 Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
Team USA won the gold medal in this tournament two years ago, with many of the same players that went on to win the gold in this year’s World Junior Championships. Last season, the U.S. placed fourth.
Team USA finished 5-2 in the tournament. It had reached the gold-medal game by defeating the Czech Republic, 3-2, in the semifinals on Friday.
In that game, Bryan Lerg scored in the first period, and Tom Fritsche added a second-period goal during a power play to put Team USA up 2-1. Phil Kessel followed up with a goal to create a two-goal margin, before the Czechs cut into the lead again before the period was through.
The third period was scoreless, as Marblehead, Mass., native Cory Schneider stopped 34 shots, including 14 in the third period.