Clifton Park and Troy, New York

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It was only an exhibition game, but Team USA's title defense of its World Junior Hockey Championship got off to a sour start Sunday in Troy.

The Americans lost to national No. 14 RPI, 4-3, in a shootout at Houston Field House. Marty O'Grady scored for the Engineers in the 12th round of the shootout, and USA's answer fell short as former RPI player Jerry D'Amigo had his shot ring off the right post.

USA lost despite an overwhelming 37-19 advantage in shots and holding a one-goal lead late. With only 2:43 to go, RPI freshman Bo Dolan ripped a slap shot from the point to force overtime.

Niagara Falls native Adam Clendening saw plenty of ice time in defeat, registering a plus-2. Also for USA, Chris Brown scored two goals and Brock Nelson had two assists. Emerson Etem also scored for the U.S.

For RPI, Allen York finished with 34 saves to keep his team in it.

This juniors-college matchup isn't something new. USA and RPI met two years ago in a similar game that the U.S. won, 5-4.

The U.S. plays two more exhibition games -- one in Rochester against the Czech Republic on Tuesday (7 p.m.) and one in Jamestown against Norway on Thursday (7:30 p.m.) -- before opening the World Championships against Finland at 8 p.m. next Sunday in HSBC Arena.

The 29-man preseason roster will be cut down to a final 22-man roster Wednesday.

Team USA is looking to defend its title, which it won by defeating Canada, 6-5, in overtime of last year's gold-medal game in Saskatoon, Sask. The United States also won it all in 2004.

Total Mileage: 305 Miles

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