Russia Remains Undefeated
The defending champions Russia defeated Slovakia 4-0 in Group A action Saturday night in Sydney to improve to 2-0. Andrei Medvedev stopped all 16 shots he faced and Igor Grigorenko, Sergei Anchakov, Alexander Polushin, and Alexander Perezhogin all scored for the winners.
The Russians are the only team with no blemish in their loss column in Group A as the USA, Slovakia, and Switzerland sit at 1-1 while Belarus is 0-2.
Grigorenko opened the scoring for the Russians at 19:30 of the first after stepping out of the corner and sliding the puck under screened Slovakian goalie Peter Sevela. Anchakov put the Russians up by two 4:29 into the second period when a redirected shot from the point landed on his stick in the slot and he beat Sevela low to the glove side off the post. Sevela earned player of the game honours for his team by stopping 29 of 33 shots.
The Russians then thought they had gone up by three when a shot by Dmitry Pestunov rang off the crossbar and goalpost early in the third period. Pestunov waited for Sevela to go down and tried to put the puck in to the top of the net. He appeared to do just so as the goal light went on but referee Rob Matsouka was in good position and waved the goal off.
Russia did get the three-goal cushion at the 17:09 mark of the period when Polushin was left all alone in front after a faceoff. The puck went to Polushin on another redirected point shot and he beat Sevela through the legs.
Perezhogin rounded out the scoring with a quick snapshot from the slot that beat Sevela on the blocker side.
Earning player of the game honours for Russia was centre Yuri Trubachev. Trubachev played a strong game and picked up an assist to give him five points (1G-4A) in only two games of play.
After exploding for 11 goals on Friday night versus Belarus, the Slovaks could not muster much of an offensive attack against the Russians. Their best scoring opportunity came in the first period when Ratislav Lipka stripped the puck from a Russian defender and broke in alone on Medvedev. Lipka deked to his forehand but Medvedev slid across to make the pad save. They also hit the post when the score was 2-0 midway through the second period off a point shot which might have given them some momentum.
Russia will face Belarus tomorrow in a 6pm AT contest. Slovakia will have the day off tomorrow and will face Switzerland on Monday. Both games are slated for Sydney.
Team Slovakia’s only real opportunities came on the heels of Russian giveaways and mistakes. Russia ended the game with two late goals including one from their top line when Polushin finished a pretty passing play from Grebeshkov and Trubachev.
Second Period Summary
First Period Summary
More to follow….
Defending Champs Russia Go For Second Win
The Russians take on Slovakia in Group A action at Centre 200 in Sydney tonight. Both teams are undefeated heading into tonight’s preliminary round game.
Team Russia defeated the United States 5-1 in its first game of the tournament on Boxing Day. Alexander Ovechkin led the Russian attack in that game by scoring a hat trick. The 184cm, 85kg, 17 year-old also picked up player of the game honours and was a physical presence throughout. Russian captain Yuri Trubachev assisted on all three of Ovechkin’s goals and added one himself for a four-point outing.
Slovakia pounded Belarus 11-1 with a balanced attack that included nine different goal scorers in action Friday night. Having big nights for the Slovaks were 185cm, 72kg forward Michal Kokavec and 186cm, 89kg defenseman Karol Sloboda who both had two goals and an assist.
Russia will ice the stronger of the two teams so Slovakia will have to be at the top of its game to compete. The Russians looked dominant in their victory over the U.S., but it is hard to say that the Slovaks were not dominant in their convincing victory over a weaker Belarus team as well. If Slovakia is to compete, they will need the same balanced attack it had in its last game as well as strong goaltending from netminder Jan Chovan.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications