KAZAN, Russia -- Attacker Daniel Lenhart led Team USA with two goals late in the fourth period, but Italy hung on for a 7-6 win on July 11 in the final Group B Preliminary Round matchup at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
The win over the Americans clinched a first-place finish for Italy (4-0-1). The United States (2-1-2), tied with Brazil (2-1-2) for third in pool play, but won the tie-breaker due to goal differential (USA +13, Brazil +10). Team USA will face the second-place finisher in Group A (will be determined tomorrow) in the quarterfinals on July 13.
Luca Marziali got Italy on the board first with a goal at two meters at the 7:35 mark of the first period. Then Stefano Luongo made it 2-0 when he converted a penalty shot (5:24). Wendt cut the deficit in half for Team USA with a goal from five meters (1:13) to end the first period scoring.
The second period began exactly like the first with Marziali scoring another goal at two meters (6:44) and Luongo converting another penalty shot (5:29) to put Italy up 4-1. Luongo would complete a hat trick with a goal at center (4:53) to put the Italians up 5-1. Fellner made it 5-2 with a power play goal off a nice feed from Roberts with 4:21 left in the second period. That score would hold up till the break.
Francesco Coppoli extended Italy's lead to 6-2 with 5:34 left in the third period. But Roberts answered with a strike on Team USA's next possession (5:09) off a pass from Fahlsing. Then Fahlsing pulled the Americans to within two goals at 6-4, converting a penalty shot at the 2:33 mark of the third period. Matteo Gitto ended the third quarter scoring with a counter attack goal with :28 left to put Italy up 7-4.
Lenhart scored back-to-back goals to pull Team USA to within one goal at 7-6 in the fourth period. His first goal was from five meters (2:30) while his second came on a 6-on-5 opportunity off a pass from attacker Paul Reynolds with 1:22 remaining.
USA goalkeeper Garrett Danner played a solid game in goal and was credited with 10 saves. He stopped 10 of the 17 shots by Italy, or 58.8 percent of its shots. Gabriele Vassallo played in the cage for Italy, making four stops (out of 10 shots, 40.0 percent).
Team USA lost all four sprints (Reynolds 0-for-3, Roberts 0-for-1). Danner led the squad with a tournament-best three steals while Wendt led with a tournament-best three field blocks.
Italy vs. USA
Italy Goals: Stefano Luongo 3, Luca Marziali 2, Francesco Coppoli, Matteo Gitto
Italy Saves: Gabriele Vassallo 4