THE MOMENT: Russia @ Sweden – Friday, April 5
by Mark Staffieri
NEPEAN, Ont. –As the captain of the Russian squad, Yekaterina Smolentseva accepts the role with great pride. She sets the tone for the team and made her presence felt in Friday’s win against Sweden on Sportsplex ice.
Having scored the first goal of the contest against Sweden (also on the power play), said goal would stand as the game-winner. The loss was especially visceral for Sweden, as it placed the proud program in the relegation round.
With the win, Russia made a strong statement. As the host country for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, to be held in Sochi, Smolentseva understands the importance of finishing on the medal podium in her homeland.
While the objective is to have a strong performance at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, every win and every great performance in Ottawa adds to the confidence of an ambitious Russian squad.
Playing on a line during this year’s women’s worlds with Iya Gavrilova, one of the elite players in the world, Smolentseva also serves as a mentor to her. Throughout the contest, they maintained remarkable puck possession whenever they graced the ice, while composing a lethal scoring combination.
One remarkable play involved Smolentseva grabbing the puck behind the Russian net. Weaving her way through traffic, she made a backhand pass past the blue line to Gavrilova, who went streaking on a breakaway.
Smolentseva employs a strong work ethic and superlative skills. The win against Sweden was just another example of how she is one of the best leaders in the game, while always providing the Russian squad with the opportunity to compete.
For the full game story, please visit www.worldwomen2013.com.
For the full game summary, including statistics, please CLICK HERE.