|2004 U20 4 Nations Tourn.Original Article URL|
Despite a big game by Czech goaltender Tomas Sturala, Russia won their second game of the tournament and finished second behind host Sweden in the U20 tournament.
Dull opening period
Enver Lisin scored two goals for Russia against Finland and seemed very motivated from the start in this game, releasing a dangerous wristshot 40 seconds into the period. After Lisin's scoring opportunity the play became a bit hesitant, but after 4:35 Denis Parshin and Evgeni Malkin forced the Finns to take a penalty with some quick turns and moves in the Finnish zone. The Russian power play was weakly executed, and in fact the Russian's had major problems organizing their play throughout the game, when the Czechs were one man short.
Smallish, but gritty center Milan Hluchy scored the first goal of the game 9:42 into the opening period. One of the more noticeable players today, Michal Polak, released a shot that Russian goaltender Anton Khudobin could not keep and Hluchy very nicely took care of the rebound.
The first period was rather dull from a spectator's point of view with few good scoring chances, but Sergei Ogordnikov was inches from tying the game at the end, as he hit the post with a hard shot.
Sturala kept Russia from scoring
The intensity during the first minutes of play in the second period was very high. Ogordnikov stood out again stickhandling around some Czech defenseman and Lisin had several decent shots on net.
After 6:10 Khudobin made a fine save when Michal Polak tried to beat him with a backhanded wrap-around shot. Khudobin was tested again moments later after a heavy slapshot signed Jakub Sindel, who however, had a rather mediocre tournament overall.
Russia had a lot of puck possession in the second period and brought the best out of Czech goalie Tomas Sturala, who was forced to make 17 saves to keep Russia from scoring.
Galimov with a strong third period and the game winner
After a good second period,
Sturala was off to a rough start allowing the second goal that he faced in the
third period. Russian defenseman Grigory Panin took a shot
from the blue line and Lisin utilized the rebound Sturala left, scoring his
third goal of the tourney. This was after 54 seconds of play.
The next few minutes the Czech Republic, and then Russia, had one man advantages
but without establishing any significant pressure. Russian third line winger
Alexander Galimov had a good shift however, displaying impressive
puck control and finishing the play with a distinct wristshot. Halfway through
the period Galimov showed himself again after receiving a pass from big center
Grigory Shafigullin. Galimov drove hard to the net with good speed and forced
Sturala to make the save of the game.
Shortly after Sturala's save Grigory Misharin was called for
holding the stick, and on the following power play defenseman Ondrej
Smach nearly gave the Czechs the lead as he hit the post.
With 5:21 left of the game Galimov, who had a strong third period, scored the
game winner for Russia on the power play. With plenty of traffic in front of
Sturala, Galimov picked up the rebound from Andrei Pervyshin's shot, and scored
the goal that Russia deserved after some good pressure in the third period.
The Czechs tried to tie the game and were given a golden opportunity as Lisin
got a two-minute penalty for hitting a Czech player to the knee. With the goaltender
pulled and a two-man advantage, the Czechs were just about to find their positions
in the Russian zone, when Milan Hluchy took an unnecessary holding penalty.
The game was as good as lost now and during the last 30 seconds the Czechs displayed
their frustration, resulting in a rather big brawl after the game. All players
on both teams were on the ice, ready to go, but the only swinging that was actually
made was that of Michal Polak who received a game misconduct.
It was a tight game that both teams could have won. Russia had more puck possession,
but their poorly structured power play, in combination with excellent work by
the Czech penalty killers and a big game by Tomas Sturala, kept them from scoring
more goals. Russia's two biggest stars in the tournament, Evgeni Malkin and
Denis Parshin, were both surprisingly pale in this game. Parshin, who had been
so successful with is dekes earlier, was in this game quite easily taken out
of the play as the Czech defensemen used their bodies.
Player notes – Czech Republic
G – Tomas Sturala
An excellent game stopping 33 shots, Sturala was also named the best
D – Ondrej Smach
Smach made smart decisions in his own end, and for once, after always
letting Ladislav Smid take the shot on the power play, released some slappers
F – Michal Polak
Polak was very noticeable, involved in much of the play. He was fairly
creative in the offensive zone, but also showed good intensity and grit. He
was consistent throughout the tournament.
F – Pavel Kubis
Kubis played convincingly in the offensive zone as well as in his own
end. Stood out especially when effectively killing penalties.
F – Jakub Sindel
Sindel was held without points in this game as well, but stood out
at times. He had two good shots on goal made a couple nice plays.
Player notes – Russia
D – Vyacheslav Seluyanov
Hardly the biggest player on the ice, Seluyanov stood in this game
playing the body pretty effectively and being more than sound in his own end.
D – Andrei Pervyshin
Pervyshin showed excellent hockey sense combined with an impressive
passing game. He did not look out of place playing physical, despite his smallish
F – Enver Lisin
Lisin should have perhaps utilized his skating more, but had a good
game scoring his third goal of the tournament. He had several shots on goal.
F – Alexander Galimov
With an impressive third period and good chemistry with center Dimitri
Pestunov, Galimov demonstrated a good scoring instinct and fine technical skills.
F – Dimitri Pestunov
Pestunov fed his linemates with fine passes and was named top Russian
player of the game.