|2008 U20 World Junior Championships|
2008 WJC: Russia tops Swiss in an opaque performance with a thrilling final.
After the disappointing loss against USA, Russia challenges Switzerland to advance in the medal round.
These are the tonight’s lines for Team Russia:
Tikhonov – Sayustov – Golubtsov – Kalimulin – Kurbatov
Kugryshev – Bodrov – Gordeev – Seleznev – Doronin
Cherepanov – Mamin – Filatov – Aleksandrov – Voinov
Milekhin – Anisimov – Korolev – Chudinov – Dadonov
Nemchinov mixes again a little bit the line putting Cherepanov on the third line with Maxim Mamin and Nikita Filatov. Sergei Bobrovskiy will start again in the net for Russia, while Switzerland must play without their frontman Luca Cunti because of the shaming decision of his NCAA team to don’t release him for the WJC.
The game starts easy for Russians as after only one minute and half Chudinov with a very good pass serves Anton Korolev, at the right of the crease, free to score between Flueler’s legs. The first few minutes of the match are really one sided as Russia controls the game and Switzerland keeps icing the puck. At the fourth minute Nemchinov’s team is near to score again on a powerplay with a nice effort by Viktor Tikhonov, saved by Flueler. When the teams get back to full strength a distraction by Yakov Seleznev frees Bykov to go one on one with Bobrovskiy, who confirms to be a breakaway master by denying him an easy goal. Switzerland gets some braveness from Bykov’s effort and tries to tie it up with Reto Suri, interesting player, who spoils another error by a defender, this time Yuri Alexandrov (Boston Bruins), to get in front of the goalie, who doesn’t get surprised and saves.
The crowd can see again Russia in attack at the eight minute, when Kugryshev centers the puck that comes picked up by Vyacheslav Voinov on the blue line. After Flueler’s save a little brawl starts and Kugryshev comes sent off for roughing. During the powerplay stretch Switzerland manages to tie the game with a slapshot by Weber deflected in by his team mate Jacquemet.
It’s Russia who makes the game. Seleznev tries the blue liner after a good feed by Evgeny Bodrov but Flueler, good goalkeeper, saves again. Russian centers create a lot but the wingers seem to spoil their good work.
At the thirteenth minute, great action by the Russian first line as all the players on the ice touches the puck, but Vadim Golubtsov’s shot is weak. Not much later Switzerland is again on attack with Hollenstein, no problems for Bobrovskiy. During this last action the refs saw a foul by Aleksandrov thus putting Russia’s opponents on a powerplay. Spectacular action by Bykov who serves Weber after a nice move, but the shot of the defender is central. Switzerland insists. Schlagenhauf feeds Lotscher, Bobrovskiy closes the gate. Lotscher tries again and again Bobrosvkiy opposes to him. Good powerplay shift for Switzerland. Once again is the first line who re-puts Russia in attack, but they lack some shot accuracy.
The first period ends so with the score tied at 1-1, really not good for Russia because of the difference that was evident during the first twenty minutes.
The second part of the game starts with a penalty whistled against Weber for high sticking. A few seconds later the numerical superiority becomes double because of Maurer’s slashing and while playing five on three Russia scores with a classic powerplay goal: Kurbatov shots from the blue line, the goalkeeper rejects but Sayustov picks up the rebound and puts it in. Russia understands that they are in a good moment and so they keep pushing. Artem Anisimov (New York Rangers) tries to shoot, Flueler saves. On the rebound shots Korolev, but the goalie is ready again. The refs then send out Jacquemet and Russia is again on a powerplay but their play is not as good as before. At the sixth minute finally Dadonov comes in the game with a too central shot after a nice backhand touch by Cherepanov in the neutral zone. Russia pushes but it’s Switzerland to score: Bykov, badly marked by Sayustov, serves Wieser from behind the goal who one times it and ties the game. A few seconds later Switzerland is again near to score: Mamin loses the puck, Suri runs away with it on the left side. Bobrovskiy contrasts him but he gets out of position. Suri then wraps around the crease and shots, but a true miracle by Seleznev denies the goal as he literally saved the shot with the glove. On this action Pavel Doronin was once again out of position. The momentum of the game is all for Switzerland who is dangerous again with Berger but Bobrovskiy stops his shot.
With the first line on ice the music changes and Russia finally pushes up the tempo: good shot by Kurbatov and nice reply by Flueler as well. A few seconds later Evgeni Dadonov (Florida Panthers) gets in the zone after a good acceleration but his shot is weak. Golubtsov tries from the left flank, but the goalkeeper is again ready to save and there are no problems for him. Russia controls the match but can’t finalize, but finally at the seventeenth minute Filatov escapes on the left and with a nice backhand serves Gordeev who deflects the puck in the back of the net, with a backhander as well, not without a bit of luck. Deserved advantage for Russians who close the second period up by one goal, not such a great result so far.
The third period starts with Russia on attack getting close to the fourth goal: an Aleksandrov bomb is rejected by Flueler. Korolev picks up the rebound and gets past the goalie, Lotscher intervenes and takes away the crease, strangely without being penalized. The game lights up and Russia moves up with Tikhonov’s tally. Switzerland tries to react, but the shot from the blue line by Stoop hits the post. Russia replies with Dadonov, whose acrobatic deflection hits the post too, and at the fifteenth minute scores the fourth goal of the game with a great wristshot from the slot by Tikhonov after a good feed by Golubtsov. The match seems closed but Switzerland manages to reopen it with a blue line slap shot by defender Maurer, who hits Bobrovskiy’s glove before to get into the net. After the 4-3 mark the Swiss coach calls for a time out. Kurbatov exaggerates on Suri and gets a deserved penalty. Switzerland gets on a powerplay and recalls the goalkeeper. Facing six men on the ice Russia makes a great job with Voinov, Aleksandrov, Tikhonov and Sayustov, but they allow a last shot to the opponents on the horn that incredibly rattles off the post, securing to Russia the victory and a place in the medal round.
Bad performance by team Russia as they probably lacked the motivation to face an inferior opponent. The few positive notes come from the offensive first line made up of Golubtsov, Sayustov and Tikhonov, and from the third defensive pair, Voinov and Aleksandrov, but Russia shouldn’t win a game against Switzerland with a post hit in the very last second of the game and a save by a defenseman. Cherepanov was simply out of the game.
Alessandro’s player of the game: Viktor Tikhonov
He played very well throughout the whole game, scoring a very nice goal that ended to be the game winner. HMs come to his linemates Sayustov and Golubtsov.
Dmitriy Kugryshev (2008 eligible), Right Wing
Got limited ice time but he spent quite well the few shifts he had on the ice, like at the second of the second period when he had an amazing rush on the boards, using his skills. Good game and it shows that he’s taking experience from this tournament.
Nikita Filatov (2008 eligible), Left Wing
Like his team mate Kugryshev, he’s getting experience from the tournament and his performance are always solid even if he has to be more consistent. Made a great rush to assist Gordeev’s goal, where he displayed good skating and technique.
Alexei Cherepanov (New York Rangers), Right Winger
People know he was part of the game just because he was announced before of the first faceoff. He better to produce in the medal round.
Artem Anisimov (New York Rangers), Center
Playing in the fourth line this time. He played his usual game with lots of pucks played and tons of good passes, but I think his line lacked a bit of chemistry. And I still think he can be a factor in the medal round.
Evgeni Dadonov (Florida Panthers), Right Wing
Nemchinov made him go a bit back and forth between the different lines without getting too much ice time, but yet he managed to play fairly well in this contest, but he was too urgent to make something with the puck to impress the coach. He needs to be more patient.
Yuri Alexandrov (Boston Bruins), Defender
Very solid game by the Bruins’ prospect. He managed to be concentrated in defense without doing any clear error a part the one that liberated Suri in the start of the game. He was also on ice in last successful shift. Good game, but he has to get less penalties.
Vyacheslav Voinov (2008 Eligible), Defender
As his linemate Aleksandrov he played a very good game, especially in the powerplay stretches where he can display his excellent passing. He also was iced in the last shift, showing that Nemchinov trusts him.
Maxim Chudinov (2008 Eligible), Defender
Didn’t get too much ice time, he brought well the puck ahead especially with the man advantage. In defense he was solid and fairly aggressive. He missed too many passes.