Day two of the Swedish Hockey Games saw Russia lose 2-4 against the host after the Czech Republic defeated Finland to guarantee top spot in the four-team tournament.

Russia’s fightback falls short

Sweden 4 Russia 2 (0-0, 2-0, 2-2)

Ilya Mikheyev scored his third goal in two games but it wasn’t enough to save Russia from defeat in Stockholm. The Avangard man converted a penalty shot to tie that game at 2-2 with 10 minutes left, but the home team recovered to win it thanks to goals from Isac Lundestrom and Fredrik Handemark. Earlier in the game Michael Lindqvist and Emil Larsson gave the Swedes a 2-0 lead in the second period before Anatoly Nikontsev reduced the arrears with a power play goal early in the third.

Nikontsev’s goal came after a tweak to the Russian power play: previously Ilya Vorobyov’s team had wasted several opportunities with a man advantage but introducing a fourth forward to the PP brigade made a difference. “We changed our power play, we set up a bit differently and that’s why we scored,” the Spartak forward said after the game.

Nikontsev, making his international debut at this tournament, found himself on the first line alongside Vadim Shipachyov and Dmitry Kagarlitsky – and enjoyed the experience of linking up with the two Dynamo Moscow men. “We only had one practice and one game but I think it went OK,” he added. “Those two already have a good connection so I was trying to follow their advice. They would tell me where best to skate, what best to do. I think we already found a bit of an understanding.”

Head coach Ilya Vorobyov, meanwhile, was concerned that his team didn’t make the most of its chances during the game. “In the first two periods we had plenty of opportunities and at this level we need to take them,” he said. “Our power play could be better, even though in the end we got a power play goal. Again, at this level, we need to make more of those chances.

“Other people are calling this an experimental roster but we decided to bring these players. At times in today’s game, frankly speaking, some things were not as good as they could be.”

Czechs wrap up first place

Czech Republic 3 Finland 1 (0-0, 2-0, 1-1)

The Czechs followed up Thursday’s victory over Sweden with a win against Finland to guarantee first place in this tournament. Even if Russia defeats Milos Riha’s team tomorrow, it cannot make up a four-point gap; Sweden can match that six-point tally but would miss out on head-to-head results.

Ak Bars forward Jiri Sekac made a big difference in the game, putting up an assist as Petr Holik opened the scoring midway through the action and scoring a power play goal in the third period to take the game away from Finland. Amur’s Tomas Zohorna also contributed an assist as Gynek Zohorna potted a short-handed goal. Avangard defenseman Ville Pokka got one back for the Finns in the third but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome.

The Czechs move on to face Russia tomorrow in search of a 100% record at the tournament. However, by prior agreement between the two teams, neither Sekac nor ex-Metalllurg hitman Jan Kovar will feature against Ilya Vorobyov’s team.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
exclusive for khl.ru

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