U20 World Junior Championships
- Team Russia had to struggle a lot to defeat a hard-fighting Team Czech Republic led by goalie Petr Mrazek, who was instrumental in his team's performance with 43 saves. But Team Russia could count on a stellar Andrei Vasilevsky: the 2012 draft eligible goalie stopped 38 out of 39 shots and got yet another W for the Mother Land in this tournament.
The highly touted forward line didn't deliver much in this game as all the big guns were left out of the score sheet. Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals)
did have some good rushes, including an one-on-one situation in the first period which sensationally wasn't a goal as his shot, after deking out Mrazek, hit the post and flew outside of the rink. Also Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)
didn't show much special, but he managed to make himself forgiven for his late third period penalty setting up the game winning goal by defenseman Grigory Zheldakov. The first goal for Team Russia was scored by Daniil Apalkov
in the second period, with assists coming from Sergey Barbashev and blue liner Zakhar Arzamastsev
, among the best defensemen of the game with Nikita Nesterov (Tampa Bay Lightning)
. Team Russia will now face Canada in the semifinals. The more quoted guys have to step up and use their finishing ability. In particular Nail Yakupov
should try and finally score a goal as he's still got a zero in the goals scored cell on the stats, something unexpected for a player who might go first overall in the next NHL draft. Most likely Mikhail Grigorenko
will have to sit out the game.