Each team scored on the power play and combined for 72 shots in a game that saw several Russian players limp off the ice due to injury, and one – Kirill Kapustin – served a game misconduct for checking from behind.
A penalty to USA forward Jacob Trouba for interference 2:29 into the game proved to be the first strike, as Albert Yarullin scored his second goal of the tournament to give Russia the early lead. Yarullin previously scored the overtime winner for Russia over Slovakia on December 26.
The US team was served with three more penalties before the end of the first period, which could have proved troublesome – but Russia didn’t capitalize on any of the power play opportunities, and the score remained 1-0.
The tides seemed to turn a bit in the second period, as Russia took a pair of penalties within seven minutes of each other. Trouba made up for his earlier penalty by scoring a power play goal at 13:18 of the second period, assisted by none other than Alex Galchenyuk, tying the game at one.
Vladimir Tkachyov scored just over four minutes into the third period to regain the lead for Russia, and the team held on for the win, despite Kapustin’s late penalty and misconduct for checking from behind. Even with the goaltender pulled, the USA couldn’t put another goal past Russian netminder Andrei Makarov, who was later named player of the game for the national team.
Makarov, who was signed by the Buffalo Sabres earlier this year, stopped 41 shots and played an impressive game in Russia’s victory – his first action of the tournament, since Vasilevski played in Russia’s previous win.
Yaroslav Kosov and Andrei Sigaryov both limped off the ice for Russia after taking a puck to the ankle and crashing the net, and Pavel Koledov took a puck to the face area.
Russia is now second in Group B standings, with a 1-1-0-0 record and five points. The USA follows with three points and a 1-0-0-1 record.
Next up for Russia is a matchup against Germany on December 29, while the United States has a day off before returning to action against Canada at 4:30 a.m. EST on December 30.