Russia, Sweden win
Russia, Sweden win
Men’s national teams in international break
Russia had its first win of the season against the Czech Republic. In November at the Karjala Cup Russia lost to Vladimir Vujtek’s team 4-3 in shootout. At the Channel One Cup on home ice in Moscow’s Ice Palace the Russians lost 4-2 and also the first game this week in Trincec went to the Czechs after a 3-2 shootout win.
Russian national coach Oleg Znarok was already asked why his team always loses to the Czechs.
“This does not mean anything!” Znarok replied. “What is important is May, in Moscow.”
And there the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will begin for the Russians with a game against... the Czechs!
In the second game, held in Ostrava, the Czechs were more active but the Russians scored. Defenceman Alexander Bereglazov sent a powerful slap shot from the blue line and Roman Lyubimov netted the puck.
After the intermission Czech forward Robert Kousal was assessed a major penalty for his foul on Igor Ozhiganov while the Russian had to leave the game after the hit to the head and neck area. The Russians replied in their way as team captain Alexander Syomin struck the puck beautifully into the top corner for the 2-0 goal.
The Czechs recovered with a nice goal from Tomas Kundratek. In the third period Jan Buchtele got a pass from behind the net and beat Sorokin beautifully for the 2-2 tie.
The next goal could be the key and after 11 minutes in the third frame Roman Lyubimov passed from behind the net and Ivan Telegin’s precise shot from the right circle landed into the net.
“I simply scored from a good position,” Telegin said about what would become the game-winning goal. “We agreed to play on the national team as we do at CSKA with Lyubimov. There is no need to do anything extra.”
Then Syomin had a breakaway. He was stopped but Nikita Gusev scored with a shot that was deflected by a Czech defenceman.
Alexander Syomin started the season with the Montreal Canadiens but in December left for Metallurg Magnitogorsk. With the national team the long-time teammate of Alexander Ovechkin in Washington wanted to show that his career isn’t going down and with his great performances he hopes to make the World Championship roster for Moscow. Like him also 20-year-old goaltender Ilya Sorokin had a phenomenal week with the national team.
“May is still far away, I don't even think about it. But it is a big dream. Anyone would like to get to the World Championship,” said Sorokin. “I try to learn every day. I am interested not only in Bobrovski, but also in Varlamov and Vasilevski. I look up to all the goaltenders who play in the NHL. There is something to learn from each one of them, you remember their game.”
“All the players of this team are included in the list of candidates. We will think who to take to the World Championship,” said Znarok. “And now I'm flying to North America where I will see the NHL players. I haven’t talked with all of them, for example with Nikita Kucherov from Tampa. But in May we need to gather the strongest team.”
Sweden won the two other games on home ice against Finland.
Until the third period Tre Kronor was leading 3-0 in the first game in Orebro after goals from Nicklas Danielsson, Niclas Burstrom and Johan Sundstrom. Finland replied with two goals from Harri Pesonen and Mika Niemi, however, they didn’t manage to complete the comeback.
Two days later, the game in Stockholm went on with the same scenario. Sweden was leading 3-0 with two goals from Patrik Zackrisson and one from Andreas Thuresson but then Joonas Nattinen and Sebastian Aho replied for the Finns. Tim Heed sealed the win for Sweden with the 4-2 goal.
Sweden now tops the Euro Hockey Tour standing with 17 points while Russia moved from fourth to second place with 11 points ahead of the Czech Republic (10) and Finland (10).
During the weekend the Slovakia Cup was held in Zilina with two wins for the home squad in the three-team tournament.
Belarus lost the first game against the Slovaks 2-1. Nikita Ustinenko opened the scoring but after 10 minutes the home team equalized with a goal from Tomas Marcinko. The game-winning goal was scored during the second period by Peter Cehlarik.
The next day, the players of David Lewis did it better with a 3-1 win against Switzerland, which travelled to Zilina with a young team after having won the Arosa Challenge in December where Belarus and Slovakia also were among the participants.
Alexander Kulakov scored on the power play and then Artyom Demkov beautifully defeated the Swiss goaltender. Three minutes before the end, the Swiss scored and pulled the goalie but Demkov scored into the empty net.
In the third game Slovakia secured the tournament win on home ice with a landslide victory – 4-0 against Switzerland.
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