MALMO, Sweden - Riley Barber (Pittsburgh, Pa./Miami University) and Stefan Matteau (Chicago, Ill.) scored and goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine/Providence College) turned aside 21 shots, but the U.S. National Junior Team fell to Canada, 3-2, in the final preliminary round game of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship here today.
Team USA finished second in Group A and will face Russia, which finished third in Group B, in Thursday's (Jan. 2) quarterfinal round.
The two teams battled to a scoreless opening period despite the United States controlling play and holding a 13-6 edge in shots on goal.
Team USA broke through for the first goal of the contest when Barber scored a shorthanded marker at 3:29 of the middle frame. A Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif./University of Wisconsin) shot from the right side bounced off the endwall right to Jaccob Slavin (Erie, Colo./Colorado College) at bottom of the left circle. Slavin tried to shoot, but the attempt was partially blocked and landed on the stick of Barber behind the goal. He gathered the puck, stepped out from behind the net and beat Canadian goaltender Zachary Fucale just inside near-side pipe.
Canada's Nic Petan tied the score at 12:19 of the second period when he took a pass from Anthony Mantha and knocked it past a diving Gillies.
The Canadians opened a 3-1 lead in the third period after two power-play goals in the first 6:13 of the frame. Connor McDavid batted a rebound in at 3:54 before Curtis Lazar redirected a Jonathan Drouin centering pass 2:19 later.
Matteau pulled the U.S. within a goal at 17:15 of the final stanza when he took a Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn./University of Minnesota) pass just inside the offensive blue line and scored on a wristshot from between the circles.
NOTES: Riley Barber was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. has medaled in three of the last four IIHF World Junior Championships, including gold in 2013 and 2010 and bronze in 2011 ... Don Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.), head coach of the University of Minnesota men's ice hockey team, is the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team. Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.), head coach of the St. Cloud State University men's ice hockey team, Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), associate head coach of the Boston College men's ice hockey team, and David Lassonde (Denver, Colo.), assistant coach of the University of Denver men's ice hockey team, are the assistant coaches. Dan Muse (Clinton, Conn.), assistant coach of Yale University's men's ice hockey team, is serving as the team's video coordinator... Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the fifth consecutive year ... Don Waddell (Detroit, Mich.), an international consultant to USA Hockey, is assisting with player identification for Team USA ... The U.S. is competing in a group with Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.