Oct 23, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov (61) celebrates his fist NHL goal against the Boston Bruins during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Prospects Vital As Russia Defeats USA

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Two Buffalo Sabres prospects provided important contributions en route to Russia’s defeat of the United States (5-3) to advance to the semifinals of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships. Russia will face either Sweden or Slovakia in the semifinals on January 4 – and yes, you can watch it on NHL Network.

Both Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko scored in the victory for Russia, allowing the team to move on to the semifinal games, which will be played on January 3 before the medal round games the following day.

Grigorenko now has four goals and three assists in five games with Russia this tournament. He is tied with Pavel Buchnevich for the team points and goals leads and leads the team with 18 shots on goal throughout the tournament. Nikita Zadorov has scored five points (4-1) in as many games, including the two powerplay goals scored today, one shorthanded goal and one game-winner.

Grigorenko opened the scoring for the Russian team, notching the first goal of the game at the 6:17 mark of the first period. Anton Slepyshev tallied his first assist of the game on the opening goal.

The United States would tie it up just a few short minutes later on a goal by Stefan Matteau, with the assists being credited to Jack Eichel and Brady Skjei. They couldn’t quite hold onto the tie, however, as Russia would regain their lead just 21 seconds later on a goal by Pavel Buchnevich, assisted by Andrei Mironov.

The United States wasn’t done, either, however, as a goal by Ryan Hartman would tie the game before Nick Kerdiles would score to give the United States a 3-2 lead before the first period even wrapped up.

The second period was all about Nikita Zadorov. The Buffalo Sabres prospect would score two 5-on-3 power play goals, both assisted by Slepyshev, after the United States got itself into a bit of penalty troubles. Just like that, Russia took a 4-3 lead into the third period.

They’d hold on for the win, with Buchnevich adding a last-minute empty netter to seal the deal for the Russians, who will now move on to the semifinals. The loss wraps up the tournament for the United States.

Later today, Buffalo Sabres prospect Rasmus Ristolainen and Team Finland will face the Czech Republic in another quarterfinal matchup.

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