Russia jumped out to a big lead and beat the United States, 9-7, forcing the Americans into a make-or-break situation for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Things started badly for the Americans when Revaz Chomakhidze scored after 20 seconds while staking Russia to a 3-0 lead. The teams played evenly the rest of the half, with Layne Beaubien scoring four seconds from the break to cut it to 6-4.
Alexander Eryshov scored two goals in the third period, including a shot at the buzzer that gave the Russians an 8-4 cushion. Wolf Wigo scored as the Americans added three goals, but said the start was costly.
"It's possible to come back from 0-3, but it's extremely difficult against a team like Russia and we shouldn't have got into that situation," the U.S. captain said. "From then we had to play catch-up and we ran out of time."
The United States plays Serbia and Montenegro tomorrow, and a loss would end their medal hopes.
In earlier matches, Germany upset 1996 champion Spain, 11-5; second-ranked Italy beat Egypt, 14-3; and Greece edged Australia, 10-9. All the winners are 3-1.
The women's quarterfinals are today. The world champion United States and Olympic gold medalist Australia get a break after finishing at the top of their groups in preliminaries.