Russia sets the table
Russia sets the table
Sweden, first place up next after 3-0 win
"It turned out not to be an easy game," said Roman Lyubimov, one of the goalscorers. "They played quick against us, but it was good that we got the shutout for Ilya."
Artemi Panarin and Ivan Telegin scored the other goals.
The win puts Russia back in first place of Group A, tied with the Czechs at 15 points each, making tomorrow’s games a battle for first place.
The Russians have the tougher opponent in Sweden, while the Czechs play Switzerland. But Sweden, currently with 13 points, could also finish in first with a win and Czech loss.
The first-place team will likely face a preferred opponent in fourth place of Group B while the second-and third-place teams will face tougher opponents in the crossover quarter-finals that will be played on Thursday.
For Norway, the loss had some relevance. It had already ensured survival to the top level for 2017 and had a slim possibility of qualifying for the quarter-finals with a win and combination of favourable results by Denmark and Switzerland.
Russia is now a perfect 10-0 against Norway in World Championship history.
Nonetheless, although they put up an admirable fight, they were clearly the second-best team on the ice today.
The Russians started out impressively and were undone only by some back luck and fantastic goaltending from Steffen Soberg. Panarin had a hat trick of near misses in the opening 20 minutes. He had a wide-open net on one sequence, but Martin Roymark somehow lunged and got his stick on the puck before it entered the gaping goal.
Later, Soberg robbed him with a great pad save, and then towards the end of the period Soberg got over to stop a one-timer by Panarin.
Russia had the only three power plays of the period, awarded largely because of their superior speed, but the Norwegians played scrappy, survival hockey and kept the game scoreless.
The Russians finally got on the board at 2:09 of the second period when Dmitri Orlov’s shot was nicely re-directed by Ivan Telegin.
The Norwegians had their fair share of chances to tie the game but misfired time and again when it mattered most. Key in this respect was a terrible turnover by Orlov inside his own blue line. Michael Haga walked in alone but wired a shot wide. The rebound bounced out the other side, and Andreas Martinsen couldn’t control the bouncing puck.
The Russians got a second goal at 17:72 on a nice give-and-go between Panarin and Vadim Shipachyov, Panarin finishing the play with a nice deke of Soberg.
"It was a relief to finally get a goal," Panarin said. "There were so many chances, and I couldn't score. It felt like the puck was cursed. In the end, I was happy to score."
Lyubimov made it 3-0 at 2:31 of the third on a baseball play. Alexei Yemelin's shot caromed off the back boards in front of the goal, and Lyubimov batted it in before Soberg knew where it was.
"It was a bit of an unusual goal," Lyubomiv agreed. "I saw the puck coming back over the net and just tried to keep my stick under the bar and get something on it."
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