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Author: Alessandro Seren RossoDate: 01/03/2009
WJC 2009: Russia gets to the semi-finals

2009 U20 World Junior Championships

WJC 2009: Russia gets to the semi-finals

With a good performance at both ends of the rink and an impressive third period with four goals, Nemchinov’s team, defeating 5-1 Czech Republic, earned a spot for the semi-finals of the WJC to be played against the hosts of Canada for what looks like a hard game for the Russian junior team.

After the disappointing defeat against Sweden Nemchinov decided to bench Daniil Alistratov in favour of Vadim Zhelobnyuk – a move that really paid off as the Dynamo Moscow goaltender stopped 26 out of 27 shots to come out from the clash with a “W”.

If the third period was a homerun for Russia, the same can’t be said for the start of the game. The first ten minutes of play have been controlled by the Czech Republic and Vadim Zhelobnyuk had to step up a couple of times with a pair of miraculous saves to avoid his team going down early. He did a remarkable save around the six minute mark in Hasek’s style, laying on his back to stop the puck after a shot by defender Ondrej Roman.

At the eleventh minute though the things changed as Sergei Andronov during a powerplay effort picked up a rebound to score the 1-0 goal after a big slap shot by Vyacheslav Voinov (Los Angeles Kings). That was Andronov’s second marker of the tournament.

The rest of the first two periods flowed without many chances as the team played some kind of tight game to prevent the opposition’s rushes, especially the Czechs, who despite of this outshot the opponents 14-8 in the second period.

The third stanza seen a whole new match. The Russians chanced their approach, playing more aggressively with the puck trying to get their best of the opponents with their better technique. It took only one minute and half for Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) to put it past Dominik Furch for the second time after a great pass by Evgeni Grachev (New York Rangers) from behind the crease.

With Russia up by two the Czechs had to react and their consequent rushes concluded with a two men advantage, but despite of that the team who got the goal was Russia again, thanks to a flashy breakaway by Evgeni Grachev (New York Rangers) after a smart clear by Dmitry Kulikov.

The double man advantage eventually paid off a bunch of seconds later as Radko Guras put it in the back of the net, but it was too late for Czech Republic, who were eliminated by the Russians at the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

Later in the third period a great combination of Russia’s first line put Evgeni Dadonov (Florida Panthers) in the slot with the net open in front of him to make it 4-1. The helpers came from Nikita Klyukin and Dmitry Klopov.

A last minute powerplay gave another chances to Russians, who spoiled it to score the fifth goal of the game with a nice looking but easy deflection by Pavel Chernov on a blue line slap shot by Igor Golovkov.

Team Russia comes out strong from this match, but the next game will be a really hard task as they have to face the tournament’s heavy favourites: team Canada.

Who goes up:

Evgeni Grachev (New York Rangers): his performances keep on rising even after a disappointing performance against Sweden. He’s still a little bit up and down, but his one goal, one assist performance was really a game breaker. On top of that he scored an awesome goal with the team down by two men.

Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets): He’s keeping on scoring and thus he’s keeping making his job. Only Canada’s John Tavares scored more than him with eight goals against six. Once again he scored when his team needed more.

Vadim Zhelobnyuk: He wasn’t tested too hardly by the Czechs, but yet he gained a deserved victory with twenty-six saves and a couple of highlight reel moments, like the spectacular save on the game’s first minutes. He must work on his rebound control as the Canadians will have no mercy in the slot.

Vyacheslav Voinov (Los Angeles Kings) and Maxim Chudinov: good pair at both ends of the ice. Voynov has progressed a lot and is among the tournament’s best defenders. Chudinov plays well with him and they played a flawless match tonight. Hopefully they can keep it up in the semi-finals too.

Who goes down:

Dmitry Kugryshev (Washington Capitals): still yet to score a single goal in the tournament, Kugryshev has been kind of invisible tonight too. He tries hard but he should play less the puck trying to involve more his team mates. He better to step up for the match against Canada as Russia will need his physical abilities.

Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders): just like Kugryshev, he isn’t producing. But here we should say that he comes from a heavy injury that left him out of ice for more than two months so he’s playing without game practice. It’s unlikely that he will be a factor in the remainder of the tournament.

Russia – Czech Republic 5-1 (1-0;0-0;4-1)

1-0 (11:53) S. Andronov (Voinov, Chudinov)
2-0 (41:25) N. Filatov (Grachev, Andronov)
3-0 (47:26) E. Grachev (Kulikov) SH2
3-1 (48:01) R. Gudas (Knotek, Ruzicka) PP2
4-1 (54:02) E. Dadonov (Klyukin, Klopov)
5-1 (59:29) P. Chernov (Golovkov, Kugryshev) PP

Related Player Profiles: . D.Alistratov S.Andronov P.Chernov M.Chudinov E.Dadonov N.Filatov I.Golovkov E.Grachev N.Klyukin D.Kugryshev D.Kulikov K.Petrov V.Voinov V.Zhelobnyuk
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