CHEBYKIN SCORES TWICE, RUSSIA MOVES ON TO WJAC SEMIFINALS
JASON LA ROSE
KINDERSLEY, Sask. – Nikolai Chebykin’s second goal of the game was the winner as Russia advanced to the semifinals at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge with a 3-2 quarter-final victory over Switzerland on Wednesday afternoon.
The Russians will face Denmark in Thursday’s early semifinal (3:30 p.m. CT).
Dmitri Zhukenov also scored for the Russia, which is into the final four for the second year in a row after missing out in three consecutive tournaments from 2010-12. It won silver last year in Yarmouth, N.S.
Makai Holdener and Auguste Impose had the goals for Switzerland; the loss means that for the first time in four appearances, the Swiss won’t compete in the semifinals.
Switzerland found the scoreboard first just 3:52 in when Holdener cleaned up the rebound of a Serge Weber shot for a 1-0 lead, but Zhukenov tied it for Russia less than four minutes later, capitalizing on a turnover at the Swiss blue-line and beating Joren Van Pottelberghe on a breakaway.
The first lead for the Russians came at 16:46 of the opening period off the stick of Chebykin, who roofed a shot over the blocker of the Swiss netminder for a 2-1 advantage.
Switzerland struck back quickly, however; just 25 seconds after Chebykin’s goal, Impose caught a loose puck at the top of the Russian crease, dropped it and knocked it past Ilya Samsonov to make it 2-2.
After outshooting the Swiss 16-8 in the first period, Russia continued its offensive push to start the second and was rewarded just before the seven-minute mark of the middle frame when Chebykin tipped an Artyom Volkov shot past Van Pottelberghe.
The Swiss pushed for the tying goal in the third period, when they held an 11-7 advantage in shots on goal, but Samsonov turned away each and every opportunity, sending the Russians through to Thursday.
Switzerland will await the loser of Wednesday night’s Canada East-Canada West quarter-final in Friday afternoon’s fifth-place game at the West Central Events Centre (3:30 p.m. CT).