Headlined by Gopher head coach Don Lucia and U of M skaters Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching, Team USA came up short today against Russia, their elimination from the IIHF World Junior Championships coming in a 5-3 loss.
Losing to Canada in the preliminary round set up the United States with the tough matchup, though they came out firing, scoring three times in the first period to take a 3-2 lead to intermission.
But Russia rattled off three goals of their own, two of them coming with the U.S. down two skaters because of penalties, and they stood strong defensively, holding the U.S. scoreless the rest of the way to end Lucia's squad's bid at a second consecutive gold medal.
Russia will face Sweden in one semifinal, while Canada takes on Finland for the right to play for a gold medal Jan. 5.
For the two Gophers skaters and Lucia, they will miss this weekend's Mariucci Classic in Minnesota, which will pit the U of M against Colgate Friday, and either RPI or Ferris State Saturday.
Associate head coach Mike Guentzel will fill in for Lucia until he is ready to coach the Gophers upon his return.