Russia 6 - Slovakia 2
RUSSIANS OVERPOWER SLOVAKIA FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WIN
By Kevin Parnell | Box Score
The victory improved Russia to 2-0-0 and dropped Slovakia to 1-1-0.
“We came here to win and we will do our best to go for it,” said Russian forward Nikolai Lemtyugov. “It is just the beginning of the tournament.”
The Russians showed a balanced scoring attack, getting goals from six different scorers as they downed the Slovaks in a physical and at times bitter game.
Evgeni Malkin, Ilia Zubov and Nikolai Lemtyugov had first-period power play goals while Gennady Churilov and Enver Lisin scored at even strength in the first. Defenceman Alexei Emelin added a power play goal in the third period for the Russians.
“I believe we started very well,” said Emilin, a standout on the Russian blueline. “In the second we slowed down. The Slovaks played well in the second and third.”
Malkin was again the best player on the ice, and Kelowna fans didn't have to wait long to see the offensive flair that no doubt has Pittsburgh salivating at the prospect of having the 6-foot-3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk whiz skating with Sidney Crosby. Just 15 seconds into the game, Malkin took a tough pass off his skate at centre and swooped in and around a Slovak defender before firing a hard wrist shot off the post.
Malkin was magnificent for the second straight game in this Okanagan city, playing like a man against boys, controlling the play, firing razor sharp tape-to-tape passes, and doing it all with the an ease reminiscent of another Penguin, Mario Lemieux.
He even dropped the gloves in a scuffle late in the third period with Slovak Ladislav Scurko although he received just a double minor.
“Neither team wants to get disqualified,” said Lemtyugov.
Trailing 5-1 after a lackluster first period, Slovakia responded in the middle frame, sparked by some outstanding goaltending from back-up Vladimir Kovac, who replaced starter Michal Valent to begin the second. Kovac was sharp. He didn't allow a goal on 14 Russian shots, and stoned Russian sniper Sergei Shirokov on two excellent chances.
Stanislav Lascek scored his fourth goal of the tournament for Slovakia, the lone tally of the period, making the score 5-2. Andrej Sekera’s point shot deflected into the net in the first period for the opening Slovak goal.
“We played with big respect for that team in the first, and the result was 5-1 down,” said Sekera. “Then we started playing our game and the result was better. It’s not over for us. We have to prepare for the next game. We have to stay out of the penalty box.”
The third period featured chippy play and several hard hits by the physical Russians. Russian Nikolai Kulemin and Slovak Jozef Wagenhoffer squared off in a fight late in the period and received match penalties. Their bout happened at the same time Malkin and Scurko were grappling together with mitts laying all over the ice.
The Russians next move on to Kamloops, where they will play Thursday night against the upstart Latvians, who have already lost two games this week.
The Slovaks have a day off Thursday. Their next game is Friday against the Czech Republic in Kelowna
PREVIEW: RUSSIA - SLOVAKIA
Russia: Team Russia comes into tonight’s game in Kelowna after opening with a 5-1 win over a sloppy Swedish team. The Russians dominated Team Sweden offensively, led by the spectacular play of Evgeni Malkin. Malkin had a goal and an assist in the Russians’ first game. He was dangerous each time he hit the ice, bringing the Kelowna fans out of their seats with dazzling moves, great size and a wicked shot. He also played very little in the third period of the team’s win, so he will be fresh and ready. Goaltender Anton Khudobin was solid as well, stopping 32 of 33 shots, including 14 in the second period when Sweden controlled the game. The performance earned Khudobin the start tonight. Look for the high-flying Russians to turn up the heat on a Slovak team that played last night and was outshot by Latvia, despite earning a win.
Slovakia: Team Slovakia started off with a 7-4 win over the upstart Latvians but struggled at times. A lack of discipline gave Latvia repeated power play opportunities, and the Latvians managed to stay in the game longer than they should have. The end result, though, was never really in question, as the Slovaks relied on five points each from Stanislav Lascek and Marek Zagrapan to get the win. But players and coaches on the Slovakian team all agreed they would have to be better to beat the Russians tonight. Slovakia will again look to the QMJHL connection of Lascek and Zagrapan to lead the way, but will try to roll four lines against the powerful Russians. Slovakia will also need some other players to step up offensively, including Seattle Thunderbird forward Ladislav Scurko, if it hopes to challenge the Russians. The Slovaks will also need to stay out of the penalty box and tighten up defensively to win this battle of (so far) undefeated teams.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications