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U.S. Drops World University Games Opener To High-Powered Russia




Box score

Anna Shokhina and Fanuza Kadirova each scored twice, with Kadirova also adding an assist, as Russia, the defending tournament gold medalists, defeated Penn State's Cassie Dunne and the U.S. National University Team 7-1 early Sunday morning in the World University Games Pool B opener for both squads.

Former Russian Olympian Shokina got things going for the designated home team in Almaty, Kazakhstan just 2:53 into the game and with the American side already killing a 5-on-3, thanks to penalties to Alex Brown (Lindenwood-Belleville) and Kathleen Ash (Colorado). Shokina's other goal also came on a power play, during the second period, helping Russia finish 3-for-9 on the woman advantage.

Kadrirova, a bronze medalist at the IIHF World Championships last spring, scored her goals roughly six minutes apart in the first period to push the score to 3-0 and unofficially transform the match from a Team USA upset bid to a matter of hanging on as well as possible, in the event that the tourney's goal differential tiebreaker comes up down the road.

Olga Sosina, Alexandra Vafina and Evgenia Dyupina rounded out the scoring for the Russians. Sosina and Vafina are also senior national teamers who have played at the Olympic Games, while Dyupina is a veteran of the 2015 World University Games gold medal squad.

A blast by Ash from the circle 2:46 into the second period, assisted by old PSU nemesis Brittani Lanzilli (Massachusetts) and Katie Augustine (Miami) gave the U.S. a bit of life at 4-1, but it would turn out to be the Americans' only tally. Amber Greene (Massachusetts) turned in a solid outing against the hard-shooting, quick-passing opponents, winding up with 58 saves on 65 shots.

Dunne, for her part, also had an eventful game. She was generally kept busy as an integral part of the red, white and blue penalty kill that hit the ice on nine occasions - although she caused a penalty kill in one instance, thanks to a miscommunication on a D-to-D pass and a trip from behind on the subsequent Russian breakaway. Her stat line included the two penalty minutes and a -2 plus-minus rating, although she also turned in her typically-excellent work when available for the PK and showed her familiar talent for starting the rush with a laser pass, even generating enough speed to help recipients draw a Team USA power play in two separate cases.

With the defeat, the U.S. quickly moves to the brink of elimination from medal contention, as it faces what is now a must-win game against Japan on Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. eastern. Should the Americans lose that contest, it would drop into a placement round to determine fifth, sixth and seventh place against the bottom two teams from Pool A. A reversal in fortune against the Japanese, on the other hand, swings the pendulum of possibilities almost entirely the other way and makes a third trip to the semifinals in four World University Games tournaments since 2011 extremely likely.

WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES STANDINGS


Pool A
GPWOTWOTLL+/-GF:GAPts.
1
Kazakhstan
1
1
0
0
0
+11
11:0
3
2
Canada
1
1
0
0
0
+8
9:1
3
3
China
1
0
0
0
1
-8
1:9
0
4
Great Britain
1
0
0
0
1
-11
0:11
0
X
Pool B
GPWOTWOTLL+/-GF:GAPts.
1
Russia
1
1
0
0
0
+6
7:1
3
2
Japan
0
0
0
0
0
0
0:0
0
3
United States
1
0
0
0
1
-6
1:7
0
x - clinched semifinal berth

WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES SCHEDULE


Date 
Game
Time (ET)Coverage/Result
Sat. Jan. 28
CAN-CHN (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
9-1
Sat. Jan. 28
KAZ-GBR (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
11-0
Sun. Jan. 29
USA-RUS (Group B)
1:30 a.m.
1-7
Mon. Jan. 30
CAN-GBR (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
-
Mon. Jan. 30
CHN-KAZ (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
Tues. Jan. 31
JPN-USA (Group B)
9:00 a.m.
Wed. Feb. 1
GBR-CHN (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
Wed. Feb. 1
KAZ-CAN (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
-
Thur. Feb. 2
RUS-JPN (Group B)
9:00 a.m.
Fri. Feb. 3
Placement Game 1
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Feb. 4
Semifinal 1
5:30 a.m.
Sat. Feb. 4
Semifinal 2
9:00 a.m.
Sun. Feb. 5
Placement Game 2
2:00 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Placement Game 3
2:00 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Bronze-Medal Game
5:30 a.m.
Mon. Feb. 6
Gold-Medal Game
9:00 a.m.

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