RUSSIANS PULL AWAY LATE, BLANK CZECHS TO ADVANCE TO SEMIS
JASON LA ROSE
QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – Yaroslav Askarov made 28 saves for his second-consecutive shutout, backstopping Russia into the semifinals at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic on Thursday afternoon.
Askarov has not allowed a goal since early in the third period of a win over Canada Red on Saturday, a span of 133 minutes and 44 seconds. He made 22 saves to blank Sweden on Tuesday.
Ignat Kokhanin had a goal and two assists to lead the offence for Russia, which avenged a quarter-final loss to the Czechs last year. The teams have now met four-straight years in the quarter-finals, with the Russians winning three.
Alexandr Pashin opened the scoring late in the first period, taking advantage of a misplay by Czech goaltender Jan Bednar to slip the 1-0 goal into an empty net with less than three minutes left in the first.
Askarov and Bednar dominated a scoreless second period, making 13 saves apiece to keep it a one-goal game.
It was a much different story in the third, with Russia scoring four goals in less than four minutes to put the game well out of reach.
Daniil Chayka doubled the lead on the power play at 8:14, hammering a one-timer from the point past Bednar, and Kokhanin jumped on a loose puck in front just 30 seconds after that for the 3-0 goal.
The power play struck again when Artyom Grushnikov beat Bednar at 10:31, and Vasili Ponomaryov found space in the slot and snapped a quick shot past the Czech netminder 80 seconds later to cap the offensive explosion.
The Russians maximized their opportunities in the final frame, scoring four goals on just seven shots.
They will take on the winner of the Canada Black-Sweden quarter-final in a Friday semifinal (time TBD), while the Czechs will play for seventh place against a yet-to-be-determined opponent (time TBD).