RUSSIANS NEED SHOOTOUT TO TOP SWEDES, CLINCH GROUP A
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Just 26 hours after the first puck dropped at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge, the first semifinalist has been decided.
Using a late goal from Emil Galimov and stellar goaltending for the second game in a row, Russia wrapped up first place in Group A and an automatic berth in Friday semifinals thanks to a 3-2 shootout win over Sweden on Monday afternoon.
The win means the Russians (1-1-0-0) will have three days off before returning to the ice at Molson Canadian Arena at CUP for the early game on Friday (2 p.m. AT).
Early on it looked as if the Swedes (0-0-1-0), who were making their tournament debut, might run away with the game, as they took a 2-0 first-period lead on a pair of goals from Jonathan Johansson and outshot the Russians 12-8 in the opening 20 minutes.
But Vladislav Namestnikov got the Russians on the board just shy of the midway point of the second period, taking advantage of hard work along the boards by Nikita Gusev, who eluded the check of a Swedish defender before spinning and firing a backhand pass to Namestnikov, who made no mistake in beating Jonas Gunnarsson.
One night after Sergey Kostenko stonewalled Canada West to lead Russia to a 2-1 win, Kiril Brashkin stood tall in the Russian goal on Monday, keeping the Russian deficit at 2-1 after two periods despite a 26-17 disadvantage in shots on goal.
The Russian persistence finally paid off with just under six minutes to go, as Galimov took a pass from Namestnikov, outwaited Gunnarsson and slid the puck around the diving Swedish netminder to tie the game and force overtime.
A goalless extra period gave way to a shootout, where Gusev and Roman Lyubimov converted their opportunities while Brashkin stopped Calle Järnkrok and Jesper Fasth, giving Russia its second group title in three years – it won Group A in 2007 before falling to Canada East in the semifinals.
With first place now out of reach, Sweden gets back to action on Tuesday afternoon, wrapping up preliminary round play against Canada West (2 p.m. AT), with the winner taking second place and a spot in Thursday’s late quarter-final.
|Arena||Credit Union Place||City, Country||Summerside, P.E.I.|
|Month / Day / Year||11/02/2009||Time||02:00 PM PT|
|22 Calle Jarnkrok (Sweden)||Save|
|13 Roman Lyubimov (Russia)||Goal|
|18 Jesper Fasth (Sweden)||Save|
|15 Nikita Gusev (Russia)||Goal|
|Sweden||20 Jonas Gunnarsson||On 1/0:00||Off 4/0:500|
|Russia||20 Kirill Brashkin||On 1/00:00||Off 4/05:00|
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||OT||Total|
|Player of the Game|
|Sweden||20 Jonathan Johansson|
|Russia||23 Nikita Gusev|