International Ice Hockey Federation

Russia gets on track

Russia gets on track

Kazakhstan puts up brave fight in loss

Published 08.05.2016 15:15 GMT+3 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Russia gets on track
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 8: Russia's Yevgeni Dadonov #63 celebrates after scoring a first period goal against Kazakhstan's Vitali Kolesnik #20 while Vadim Kransnoslobodtsev #62 looks on during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Anton Belov had two goals and two assists to lead Russia to an important 6-4 win over a persistent Kazakhstan team. The teams combined for six power-play goals.

The Russian blueliner saved his best for last, scoring once and assisting on another in the third period to break a 4-4 tie.

Shots favoured Russia, 49-19, but the game was uncomfortably close for the hosts much of the time. Kazakhstan was, if nothing else, persistent and competitive for most of the game.

"Giving up four goals is a lot, and it’s impossible to be happy with my game after giving up so many," said Russian netminder Sergei Bobrovski. "But the most important thing is that we won, and we can move on to the next game."

"Our first game [against the Czechs] was really emotional," offered captain Pavel Datsyuk. "Today we were a bit calmer but we still made a lot of mistakes. When we started scoring we gained in confidence."

The game started with the wildest period of the tournament so far. Russia went ahead at 6:43 when Vadim Shipachyov made a nice pass to Yevgeni Dadonov charging to the goal. Dadonov made a nice redirect, and the puck squeezed through the pads of Kolesnik for 1-0 lead in front of a sold-out and boisterous Russian crowd.

That celebration was short-lived. Just 81 seconds later Dustin Boyd snapped a loose puck in during a power play, and 58 seconds after that the Kazakhs stunned the fans with a go-ahead goal from Roman Starchenko, whose great shot picked the corner over Bobrovski’s shoulder.

But Russia came right back, tying the game at 9:21 when Roman Lyubimov converted a nice pass from Sergei Kalinin on the right side. Four goals in 2:38, though, did not spell the end of the scoring.

Sergei Mozyakin drilled a point shot past Kolesnik at 11:11 during a 5-on-3 to put the hosts in the lead again, but with only 14.2 seconds remaining, and the Kazakhs on another power play, Yevgeni Rymarev made it 3-3 with a clever play.

Behind the Russian goal and seeing no play—they called it Gretzky’s Office back in the day—he flicked the puck in behind Bobrovski. He couldn’t elude the puck in time, and it bounced off the back of the goalie’s knee and in to score a 99-like goal.

And so concluded a crazy opening 20 minutes which saw three lead changes and six varied and entertaining goals.

The second period was the mirror opposite. While the Russians skated and moved the puck, the Kazakhs seemed content to try to play the game to a 3-3 tie. Most of the period was played in their end, and it seemed only a matter of time before the Russians scored. But the Kazakh defence was relentless, and Kolesnik sharp, until a late penalty gave the Russians an opening.

Much to the relief of the evermore anxious crowd, Belov’s point shot got through traffic and into the net at 18:02 to make it 4-3.

But the Kazakhs ended the period strongly and Boyd had a great chance to tie the game again. They drew a power play that carried over mostly to the third, and the North Americans converted.

Dawes moved the puck to Boyd who found Maxim Semyonov sneaking in the back side, and Semyonov made no mistake, making it 4-4 exactly 1:00 into the final period.

Russia took the lead again at 3:57 courtesy of another Belov point shot that tipped off a Kazakh stick in front and over Kolesnik's glove at 3:57 to bring the crowd back into the game.

Five minutes later, on another power play, a Belov point shot was deflected by Roman Lyubimov to give the Russians a two-goal lead for the first time.

"We had to play yesterday, and we couldn’t match the kind of speed we had in that game because there was hardly any recovery time," said Kazakh forward Yevgeni Rymarev. "It’s great playing in an arena like this where everyone is rooting against us. We don’t really hear much of what happens in the tribunes, but the atmosphere is great.

Russia plays Latvia tomorrow as part of the national May 9 celebrations while Kazakhstan has the day off before playing Norway on Tuesday.

 

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