MOSCOW - Russia routed the United States 7-2 to win the bronze medal at the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.
Ahead of the final between Canada and Finland later Sunday, Russia was in full control of the bronze medal game, taking a 4-0 lead in the second period before countering any hopes of an American fightback.
Artemi Panarin, who finished with a goal and two assists, said Russia had played with more freedom after a weight of expectation was lifted following its semifinal defeat to Finland on Saturday.
"I think we just relaxed today," said Calder Trophy finalist Panarin. "Until now ... the pressure was serious."
Russian forward Sergei Mozyakin scored two goals, with captain Pavel Datsyuk registering three assists. The U.S. led 30-29 in shots, but Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky produced some impressive saves to protect the lead.
Frank Vatrano scored both goals for the U.S.
"This one stings. Obviously, you don't like to go out on a losing note," forward Nick Foligno said. "They just played off their emotion and their power and we didn't really have an answer."
Bronze is still a disappointment for a Russian team that had hoped to reach the gold medal game on home ice.
"We can't win (the world championship) every year. In the last three years we have been champions, second place," forward Alex Ovechkin said. "It's better to win a medal than not."
The young U.S. team, featuring six college players, missed out on the chance to win bronze for the third time in four years.
(This story has been corrected to show the shot count was 30-29, not 30-28.)