Game Summary

United States 1
Russia 5

Round Robin
Thursday, December 26, 2002
Sydney, NS

Ovechkin Leads Russia To Crushing Win Over USATeam Russia skated to a decisive 5-1 win over Team USA tonight in World Junior action in Sydney in a penalty-filled contest.

The 17-year-old Alexander Ovechkin lived up to his high expectations by scoring three goals in his first World Junior Championship contest and earned player of the game honors for the Russian team.

"I didn’t think about scoring three goals--I thought about winning the game," said Ovechkin in a post-game press conference. "I wanted to help our team play well and win the hockey game."

With Russia leading 2-0 heading into the second period on Ovechkin’s first two goals, the Americans cut the lead in half with a goal by Patrick O’Sullivan. Kirill Koltsov then scored a short-handed marker at 7:17 to give the Russians a two-goal cushion again. Ovechkin then finished his hat-trick and put the Russians up by three at 9:14 of the period.

Yuri Trubachev rounded out the Russians’ scoring at 7:06 of the third. Russian netminder Andrei Medvedev turned aside 15 of the just 16 shots he faced while his counterpart James Howard was pulled midway through the second after the Russians’ fourth goal. He was replaced by Robert Goepfert.

When asked about his team’s performance, O’Sullivan said, "We were beaten tonight by a better team. It was their night tonight. It was just one game though and it was our first game so it’s really not a big deal. We just have to win these next few games to make it to the crossover round where it really counts."

Each team took its share of penalties, the U.S. finishing with 32 minutes while Russia had 20. But it was the Russians who took advantage of their odd-man situations by scoring one power-play goal and one short-handed marker.

When asked about his team’s penalty trouble, O’Sullivan said, "As a team we’ve got to play smarter, myself included. The coaching staff tried to get it across to us that taking a penalty is okay as long as it’s a good one. Obviously, if we want to win games, we’ve got to stay out of the box."

Team USA coach Lou Vairo did not take the loss too harshly realizing the team has three round-robin games ahead of them. "I think we are a much better team than we showed tonight. I don’t think we played like we are capable of playing. But it is understandable because the other team made us play poorly. It was a good test for us and we realize that it’s a long championship, not just one game."

When asked about his team’s play, Russian coach Rafail Ishmatov said, "I think we played very well and very physical. It was a good game tonight. We came prepared to play."

One of Team USA’s top defensemen, Tim Gleason, will be out with a broken bone in his foot he sustained after blocking a Russian shot for the remainder of the tournament.
Both teams will have tomorrow off and play Saturday. Russia will face Slovakia in their next game while the USA takes on Switzerland. Both games will be played in Sydney.

Ryan Joe MacKenzie
Staff Reporter


Box Score
USA

0

1

0

1

0

Compte
RUS

2

2

1

5

0


Scoring/Buts :
19.49 0 - 2 EQ RUS 8. OVECHKIN, Alexander (15. TRUBACHEV, Yuri, 5. GREBESHKOV, Denis)
16.20 0 - 1 PP1 RUS 8. OVECHKIN, Alexander (7. TYUTIN, Fedor, 15. TRUBACHEV, Yuri

Penalties/Pénalités :
16.59 2 min RUS 4. EZHOV, Denis TRIP
14.23 2 min USA 5. GREENE, Matt INTRF
09.24 2 min RUS 16. TARATUKHIN, Andrei INTRF
08.34 2 min USA 18. HIGGINS, Christopher HI-ST
07.36 2 min USA 22. SHANNON, Ryan HOLD
03.48 2 min RUS 5. GREBESHKOV, Denis BOARD
Scoring/Buts :
29.14 1 - 4 EQ RUS 8. OVECHKIN, Alexander (15. TRUBACHEV, Yuri , 18. POLUSHIN, Alexander)
27.17 1 - 3 SH1 RUS 12. KOLTSOV, Kirill (21. GRIGORENKO, Igor, 26. PEREZHOGIN, Alexander)
22.41 1 - 2 EQ USA 12. OSULLIVAN, Patrick (19. WHITNEY, Ryan)

Penalties/Pénalités :
38.59 2 min RUS 7. TYUTIN, Fedor HI-ST
36.24 2 min RUS 7. TYUTIN, Fedor BOARD
33.52 2 min USA 7. SUTER, Ryan TRIP
31.00 2 min USA 12. OSULLIVAN, Patrick SLASH
26.26 2 min RUS 7. TYUTIN, Fedor HI-ST
Scoring/Buts :
47.06 1 - 5 EQ RUS 15. TRUBACHEV, Yuri (18. POLUSHIN, Alexander, 22. FAKHRUTDINOV, Dimitri)

Penalties/Pénalités :
59.23 2 min USA 5. GREENE, Matt SLASH
59.23 10 min USA 5. GREENE, Matt MISC
57.19 2 min USA 20. WISNIEWSKI, James ROUGH
55.58 2 min RUS 24. KONDRATIEV, Maxim TRIP
54.29 2 min USA 18. HIGGINS, Christopher HI-ST
54.29 2 min RUS 7. TYUTIN, Fedor SLASH
52.59 2 min USA 20. WISNIEWSKI, James CROSS
51.28 2 min RUS 12. KOLTSOV, Kirill TRIP
44.56 2 min RUS 22. FAKHRUTDINOV, Dimitri HI-ST
42.42 2 min USA 19. WHITNEY, Ryan ROUGH
41.38 2 min USA 10. HELMINEN, Dwight TRIP

Players of the Game USA Unavailable
Joueurs du partie RUS Unavailable

Goaltenders USA 30. HOWARD, James 29:14 29. GOEPFERT, Robert
Gardiens de but RUS 30. MEDVEDEV, Andrei

Shots on Goal by Shots on Goal by

1st/1re

2nd/2e

3rd/3e

Final

Shots on Goal by USA

3

10

3

16

Tirs au but par RUS

13

9

9

31


Officials Referee/Arbitre FAVORIN, Timo
Officiels Linesmen/Juges des lignes DOUCETTE, Derek KRONBORG, Lars

Attendance/Assistance 4,950

Defending Champs Hoping To Repeat Last Year’s Performance

Russia takes on USA on opening day of the 2003 World Junior Championship
After taking home the gold in last year’s U20 tournament, the Russians hope to get the ball rolling with a win over the United States on opening day action in Sydney, Nova Scotia this afternoon.

After winning 21 medals since 1977, 11 of them gold, it is no surprise that Russia is again favored to contend for the gold in this year’s World Junior Championship. Although the team will be without such stars as Ilya Kovalchuk, who is excelling at the NHL level with the Atlanta Thrashers, and Stanislav Chistov, who is playing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Russia has put together a team that is strong nonetheless.

With strong defense and speedy young forwards, Russia is going to make its presence known in Sydney at the 2003 IIHF World U20 Championship. Seveteen-year-old Alexander Ovechkin, who won’t be eligible for the NHL draft until 2004, is a power forward for the Russians and will keep opposing players’ heads up with his intense physical play and hard bodychecks. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Ovechkin is Russia’s youngest player and will be a key in the team’s run at gold this year.

NHL Draft prospect Nikolai Zherdov, with dazzling individual skills, is expected to produce plenty of offence for the defending champs. Andrei Medvedev, manning the net for team Russia, will be no slouch after winning last year’s tournament.

Although Russia is highly favored, the United States may be its most difficult game in round robin play. The United States’ top scorer of the 2002 World Junior Championship, Chris Higgins, will be returning this year and hopes to better his performance. Team USA will also have high expectations from draft hopefuls Dustin Brown, possibly the best prospect in the CHL, and Patrick O’Sullivan, who led the OHL in points for a rookie last season.

One other key to the U.S. team is right winger Eric Nystrom, son of former NHLer Bobby Nystrom, who is known to do very well under pressure.

If the Americans can get good goaltending from Dwight Labrosse and James Howard they could provide Russia with more of a game than the gold medallists had counted on.
Overall, the match between the Russians and Americans will be highly anticipated by hockey fans of Sydney, Nova Scotia. With respected names on the back of each team’s sweaters, and dominant names on the front, this should be one of the most competitive games in Group A for the week.

Ryan Joe MacKenzie

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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications