Russia beat Canada 5-2 in Germany and will now face the hosts, who have already suffered defeat at the hands of Vyacheslav Bykov’s squad.
Canada head coach Craig MacTavish raised a few eyebrows at the post-match press conference with his take on the match with Russia, claiming Canada played very well and only their finishing let them down:
“I thought the difference in the game was that the Russian players were able to capitalize on a high percentage of their chances and us on a very low percentage of our chances,” he said.
“We matched them in every department,” was Alexei Tereschenko’s view. “And the Canadians played exactly as we’d anticipated. That is to say, they sprang no surprises on us at all.”
“Perhaps the only problem we had to overcome was psychological. That defeat back in February lives on in the memory. And even though this is a very different Canada side, we still had a lot of players from that match playing for us today,” said Vyacheslav Bykov.
“We have been watching some clips of Canada’s games,” continued Bykov. “Does that include the match in Vancouver? That’s secret. But we were really well-prepared for this game; we made sure we knew all the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses. It is difficult to pinpoint a key moment in the match. Battle raged from the first minute to the very last, but one team took the opportunities that came their way and the other did not.”
“We still had couple of chances to turn the game around, even at 0-3,” admitted Corey Perry, the lone veteran of the victorious Canadian Olympic squad. “But we didn’t take them, and the Russians were always in control of the game.”
Vyacheslav Bykov stayed calm, calling this victory “small” revenge for Vancouver, conceding that the two tournaments differ vastly.
“We have a special ritual in the changing room after a game,” the coach revealed Russia’s secret. “We forget all about the match we’ve just played and we think only about the next opponent.”
Russia has already come up against Germany in this World Championship and proved just too strong for the hosts, managing a close 3-2 victory.
Alexei Shevchenko, Cologne