Russia vs. USA 2:3 (0:1, 2:0, 0:2) Goals: 0:1 Dustin Brown (Matt Cullen – 8:54); 1:1 Dmitri
Yushkevich (28:01); 2:1 Andrei Bashkirov (Alexander Guskov – 34:41 pp);
2:2 Ryan Malone (Andy Roach – 49:54); 2:3 Chris Drury (Mike Grier –
55:25 sh); Goalies: Maxim Sokolov – Ty Conklin Shots: 35-35 Penalties: 12-12 Game Recap (source: www.iiwc.net written by: Peter Westermark)
In a tight, physical and entertaining May Day affair, the USA beat Russia 3-2
after scoring two goals in the third period, with the winner coming on a shorthanded
effort with less than five minutes to play.
On the deciding play, Mike Grier got the puck and decided to take on the Russian
defense and skate in toward the net. He got by his man, fired a shot that Russian
goaltender Maxim Sokolov had to leave a rebound on, and Chris Drury came in
as the third man and put home the easy goal to make it 3-2 for the USA.
"I think our defensive play and forechecking of our forwards at their
blueline allows us to catch their defensemen flatfooted," said Grier. "I
just took the puck and went wide and pulled it in and Chris was there to put
After the game, the management of Team Russia filed an official protest with
the IIHF, claiming that both the second and third USA goals should not have
been allowed due to goal crease violations. The tournament directorate in Ostrava
will review the case on Sunday morning.
As it stands, the result means that Russia is in tough to make it to the quarter-finals
in Group F. Russia stands pat at two points, whereas the USA now stands at three
points and plays Sweden and Denmark in the coming days. Russia has only one
game left, a match against Finland. In order to make the quarter-finals, Russia
must rely on help from both Sweden and Denmark. This win was as big as they
come for the USA, who not only strengthened their bid to get into the quarter-finals,
but also lay down their archrival.
Both Russia's Maxim Sokolov and Team USA's Ty Conklin played strong games in
goal, stopping 32 and 33 shots respectively. Scoring for Russia were Dmitri
Yushkevich and Andrei Bashkirov, while the other USA scorers were Dustin Brown
and Ryan Malone.
Tempers started flaring already in the first period and the rough style was
present throughout the game.
"We played well, and I think it's a sign that our team is coming together,"
said Conklin. "Especially the way we played in that third period, being
down a goal and getting two back to beat them. I think we're slowly getting
to know each other as a team."
Despite several quality chances for both teams, there was only one goal scored
in the first period. Almost nine minutes into the contest, Alexander Guskov's
errant pass was picked off by Team USA's Dustin Brown, who fired a wrist shot
into the far corner past Sokolov.
Moments after, Russia almost roared back as Vladimir Antipov weaved his way
through the American defense, but Conklin was there to make the save.
As the period wore on, tempers started to flare and halfway through, the Russians
seemed to lose their strong passing game, focusing instead on a more physical
style, with simple hockey and battles along the boards. Even Russian Head Coach
Viktor Tikhonov got involved, as he and American forward Mike Grier could be
seen screaming at each other at one point.
That development of the game only seemed to play in the USA's favor, who got
a great chance to make it a 2-0 game on Matt Cullen's wrap-around attempt with
eight minutes left, but Maxim Sokolov made a quick lateral move and stopped
For Russia, Alexander Ovechkin had the best chance of the period when he waltzed
in alone in front of the net and let off a high backhand, but Conklin was quick
on his feet and took the shot off the Team USA logo on his chest.
The USA had the momentum going into the second period, but when they couldn't
score on an early power play, Russia quickly started to take over. It seemed
like Russia was using their speed more and more every minute and while the American
team became more and more passive. Ilya Kovalchuk, Oleg Tverdovsky and Alexei
Morozov all had good chances in front of Conklin before Russia got the equalizer
eight minutes into the second.
And it was a controversial goal. Alexei Yashin's wraparound attempt was not
completely stopped by Conklin as the puck lay flat just outside the goal line.
Searching for the puck, Conklin stepped on it and pulled his leg backwards,
ever so slightly. The Russians stormed Conklin's crease and pushed at his leg,
placing both the American goaltender and the puck in the net. Referee Vladimir
Sindler allowed the goal to stand, as fights broke out around the USA net. Dmitri
Yushkevich got credit for the goal.
The momentum continued to swing in Russia's favor in the second period as they
made it a 2-1 game with one second to go on a power play. That came after Aaron
Miller was sent off for slashing when he broke Kovalchuk's stick with a whack
when the youngster was skating in alone on Conklin.
Andrei Bashkirov was credited with a goal after a deflection off a Alexander
Guskov shot. Guskov thus got redemption for the mistake that led to Dustin Brown's
goal for the American team.
The 6,513 in attendance saw a determined American team step out on the ice for
the third period. While scoring chances were hard to come by, the Russians started
playing a more defensive style, hoping for quick breaks and counter-attacks.
It would not prove successful.
The USA tied the game at 9:54 after a controversial goal of their own. Andy
Roach fed a pass back to Ryan Malone in the high slot, who replicated Brown's
first goal by firing a shot high past Sokolov's stick side. The Russian team
protested the goal as Jeff Halpern had stormed in on net and was definitely
in the crease as the goal was scored.
After the tying goal, the Russians became more active again and got a glorious
chance to win the game when Hal Gill was sent off for interference at 14:25.
But it was not to be. Instead, due to a gutsy move from Grier and some lazy
backchecking from the Russian power play participants, Team Russia was dealt
a crushing blow.
"We made defensive mistakes," said Russian Head Coach Viktor Tikhonov.
"I have nothing else to add."
The American team had little problem killing off the last four minutes of the
game, with Russia only managing a single shot on Conklin.
The USA is in action again Sunday, when they will face Team Sweden in the late
game. Russia gets a day off before playing a must-win game against Finland.
Slovakia vs. Russia 2:0 (0:0; 2:0; 0:0) Goals: 1:0 Marian Hossa (Pavol Demitra – 25:22); 2:0 Ronald
Petrovicky (Rastislav Pavlikovsky, Marian Hossa – 39:09); Goalies: Jan Lasak - Maxim Sokolov Shots: 23-18 Penalties: 12-24 Game Recap (Source: www.iiwc.net; written by: Peter Westermark)
So much for the theory that defense is the weak point of the Slovak team. They
followed up a scoreless first period with a two-goal outburst in the second
period that solidified their status as gold medal contenders, beating Russia
The game started out as a tight-checking chippy affair, with many shoving matches
after the whistles, but the Russians couldn't keep up when the Slovak team turned
up their tempo a notch in the second period. The defensive-minded Russians could
not turn their game around and play catch-up after they had fallen behind 2-0.
"Defense has been our strength for the last few years," said Slovak
forward Rastislav Pavlikovsky. "The big stars are coming from the NHL and
they are playing for the team, and that's a big help for us. That's why we are
successful like this."
Marian Hossa had his second goal of the tournament and Ronald Petrovicky his
first. Goaltender Jan Lasak picked up the shutout and saved 18 shots, with the
quality chances coming mainly in the first period.
With the win, the Slovaks move up to join Sweden with five points in Group F.
Russia, meanwhile, stands at two points.
"It was a very important game," said Frantisek Hossa, head coach of
Slovakia. "From our side, it was a very tactical and active game with perfect
defense. We were very patient and waited for our chances to score. An excellent
In the first period, both teams played a disciplined style of hockey while maintaining
a physical edge. Most notably, Zdeno Chara and Alexei Yashin bumped heads a
couple of times.
The Slovaks were the more active side, while the Russians made sure that they
had all men on the defensive side of the puck, hoping for counter-attacks. And
they did get a few, with Alexander Ovechkin, Maxim Sushinsky and Alexei Morozov
all getting good chances to score. But Lasak was there to make the saves, except
for Morozov's attempt, where the Russian put a backhanded attempt on the outside
of the net with half the net open as Lasak was out of position.
"I think they played well defensively," said Yashin. "We created
a lot of chances, but we didn't play a perfect game offensively. I think if
we're more patient in the neutral zone, things will work out."
The 0-0 deadlock was finally broken six minutes into the second period. Pavol
Demitra, dominant throughout the game, raced in on a 2-on-1 with Lubos Bartecko,
who was tied up by a Russian quickly getting back. Demitra faked beautifully
to the middle and slid a two-meter pass to Marian Hossa, who promptly put the
puck high into Sokolov's net. They almost got another goal on an odd-man break
when Vladimir Orszagh, Rastislav Pavlikovsky and Ronald Petrovicky raced in
on a lone Russian defenseman, but Sokolov was there to make the save after some
pretty three-way passing from the attacking trio.
Instead, the Slovaks got their second with 51 seconds left in the second period.
Ronald Petrovicky accepted a pass from Pavlikovsky inside the faceoff circle
and fired a shot over Sokolov's shoulder to send the Slovaks into the intermission
up by two. That would prove to be the goal that broke Russia's back.
"We got two goals against because the forwards didn't fulfill their obligations,"
said Russian Head Coach Viktor Tikhonov. "Second, we were undisciplined
and took too many penalties. And we couldn't afford this."
The Russian team was pushed back in the second period, and didn't manage to
create many scoring chances. The best one was a Maxim Afinogenov blast from
close range that Lasak saved with his right pad.
In the third, the Slovaks decided to sit on the lead and try to close down the
Russians, and they were successful. Other than shots from the outside, the Russians
did not manage to apply any real pressure on the team wearing blue, not even
while playing with the man advantage late in the game. Instead, it was Slovakia
who had the best chance of the period when Josef Stumpel raced in on a breakaway
after taking a pass from Marian Gaborik that travelled through three full zones,
but Sokolov made a quick move to save Stumpel's deke with his outstreched arm.
The attendance at the CEZ Arena was announced at 7568, with the vast majority
being celebrating Slovak fans.
"I've been to many championships before, and I have never seen such a great
atmosphere. The fans are united here and cheer for different teams," offered
Tikhonov as a closing remark at the press conference.
Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens) has officially declined an invitation to join Russia’s national team at the World Championships. The young offensive defenseman said he was fatigued from the long NHL season. The Russian national team has already suffered some injuries in it’s defensive corps, with Vasily Turkovsky and Andrei Skopintsev being sidelined. Their absence and the fact that Andrei Markov is not coming opens the door for Maxim Kondratiev (New York Rangers), who has been held in reserve thus far.
Sergei Mozyakin was released by the Russian National team after receiving reinforcements on the left wing from the NHL. Anatoly Bardin, Russia’s General Manager, stated the following regarding Mozyakin’s release to the Soviet Sport newspaper:
Russia vs. Japan 6:1 (4:1, 1:0, 1:0) Goals: 1:0 Maxim Afinogenov (Slava Butsayev – 2:03); 2:0
Alexei Morozov (Alexander Guskov – 2:41); 3:0 Andrei Skopintsev (Maxim Afinogenov
– 4:47); 4:0 Ilya Kovalchuk (Valeri Zelepukin, Vitali Proshkin – 10:10);
4:1 Chris Yule (10:49); 5:1 Maxim Sushinsky (Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Yashin –
27:52); Alexander Guskov (Alexander Skugarev – 46:53); Goalies: Egor Podomatsky – Jiro Nihei Shots: 33-22 Penalties: 2-6 Three Stars: Maxim Afinogenov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Guskov Prospect Notes: While the score may not be as indicative of a
complete beating, make no mistake - Russia crushed Japan in this contest. Russia
scored four goals in the first ten minutes of the game and then laid off the struggling
Japanese squad, keeping the score out of the double digits. Maxim Afinogenov lead
the initial charge with a goal and assist early in the contest. Ilya Kovalchuk
also chipped in a goal and an assist. Russia already cemented a spot in the qualifying
round prior to this game, while Japan will move on to the relegation round.
Defenseman Alexander Ryazantsev (Washington Capitals) is the latest cut from the national team that will compete at the World Championships that will commence in a couple of days. The young blueliner has been on the "bubble" since the arrival of Dmitri Kalinin to the training camp.
Alexei Mikhnov (Edmonton Oilers) has been released by Russia’s national team in favor of the veterans, who freed up after Russia’s Super League finals concluded. There will likely be more changes, as NHL players commit to represent Russia in the tournament.
Yesterday, Team Russia’s head coach announced the roster that will take
place in the initial training camp prior to the 2004 World Championships. The
roster only includes players from Russian clubs, which have been eliminated from
the Super League playoffs and will likely change once the NHL regular season,
and the Russian Super League playoffs conclude.
Goalies: Yegor Podomatskiy, Alexander Fomichev; Defensemen: Alexander Guskov (Columbus Blue Jackets), Dmitri
Yushkevich, Alexander Ryazantsev (both Washington
Capitals), Andrei Skopintsev, Alexander Zhdan, Andrei Shefer (Los
Angeles Kings), Andrei Zabolotnev, Leonid Kanareykin; Forwards: Maxim Yakutsenya, Igor Emeleev, Sergei Mozyakin
(Columbus Blue Jackets), Ilya Krikunov (Vancouver
Canucks), Nikolai Pronin, Sergei Zolotov, Vladimir Antipov (Toronto
Maple Leafs), Slava Butsaev, Alexei Badyukov, Maxim Rybin (Anaheim
Mighty Ducks), Yuri Trubachev (Calgary Flames), Alexander
Ovechkin (2004 NHL Entry Draft), Igor Volkov (New