Russia 3 Switzerland 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)
Two goals from Nikita Kucherov maintained Russia’s unbeaten run at the World Championship – and lifted the forward back to the top of the tournament scoring charts. Kucherov scored in the second and third periods of Russia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland, and the Red Machine had its fourth shut-out in six games as it continues to dominate Group B in Bratislava.
Alexander Georgiev recorded his second shut-out of the tournament, and paid tribute to his defense. "The guys in front of me did a fantastic job. The defence really supported me, stood up under pressure and worked brilliantly on the penalty kill.
"It also helped that we went in front early in the game."
Russia grabbed that early lead when Dmitry Orlov carved his way through the Swiss defense to set up Artyom Anisimov in the fourth minute. But that play hardly opened the floodgates: instead, the teams battled hard through an even first period with Russia maintaining its one-goal advantage to the intermission.
Gusev added that Russia needed to play a simpler game at times and focus on converting pressure into more goals to enjoy a more comfortable game against stubborn opposition.
Kucherov added two more against last season’s silver medallist to send the Swiss to a second loss in 24 hours, the first coming off another beautiful feed from Nikita Gusev. That moves his personal tally to 14 (6+8) points, one ahead of Sweden’s William Nylander in the scoring race. Those two will go head-to-head on Tuesday in Russia’s final group stage game with the winner likely to top the group and face the weakest Group A team as the knock-out phase gets underway.
Czech Republic 8 Austria 0 (2-0, 3-0, 3-0)
Earlier in the day, Vityaz forward Michal Repik and Amur defenseman Jan Kolar both had three points in the Czech Republic’s 8-0 victory over Austria. Repik scored two goals and an assist – and was close to a hat-trick when another of his efforts was deflected onto the bar – while Kolar got one goal and two helpers.
“I don’t often get my name among the scorers so I’m always very happy with any point I can pick up,” Kolar said after the game. “But the most important is to get the win. It was a good game for us. We skated well, we scored eight goals, it’s all good.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence. We’re scoring a lot of goals in this tournament. We’ve brought over a great group of forwards who have come out of the NHL. They bring a lot of experience and that’s really lifting our game.”
In Kosice, Slovakia’s playoff hopes came to an end when the USA beat Germany 3-1. The Slovaks needed a German victory to ensure the host nation still had a chance of making the quarter-finals, but despite an early German goal the USA won it thanks to third-period tallies from Dylan Larkin and Jack Eichel.
The evening game saw Finland play France and ease to a 3-0 victory with one goal in each period. The result sees the Finns remain top of Group A, while France must now defeat Great Britain tomorrow afternoon to retain its place in the Elite Pool.