Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Russia picked up its first win of the season, overcoming Sweden in a shoot-out after a high-scoring clash at the Karjala Cup. But, once again, the Red Machine misfired at times, falling short at the end of regulation in a game that it led from early on. After tying 4-4, it took a Nikita Soshnikov penalty shot to win it in the shoot-out.

After the loss against Finland, Alexei Kudashov and his coaching team made some changes. Goalie Ivan Bocharov was replaced by Igor Bobkov, defensemen Nikita Cherepanov and Yaroslav Dyblenko were rested, as were forwards Alexei Makeyev and Alexander Kadeikin. Kamil Fazylzyanov made his debut on defense, while Lokomotiv youngster Pavel Kudryavtsev was named as the 13th forward on his first appearance for the national team.

Photo: 09.11.19. Eurohockey tour 2019-2020. Karjala Cup. Sweden - Russia

Much of the first period was a battle between Russia’s forwards and SKA goalie Magnus Hellberg. Anton Slepyshev and Damir Zhafyarov opened a 2-0 lead for the Russians, but without Hellberg’s efforts the lead could have been greater.

In the second period, though, Russia ran into penalty trouble and Sweden found a way into the contest. A penalty shot from Carl Klingberg got the Tre Kronor on the scoreboard, but Kirill Semyonov restored Russia’s two-goal advantage.

However, the third period saw Sweden claw back that deficit. A 5-on-3 power play helped Mikael Wikstrand reduce the arrears and a power play goal from Nikita Soshnikov provided only temporary respite. Debutant Niklas Hansson got the tying goal at 4-4 with barely two minutes to play and the game went into overtime. In the extras, Hellberg denied Russia on four occasions but the Red Machine finally secured the verdict in the shoot-out thanks to successful efforts from Soshnikov and Sergei Shumakov.

Alexei Kudashov, head coach, Russia:

– This was our second game together, so the players should be more confident, able to play a solid 60 minutes and make sure they keep doing the right things. To start with we had complete control, but we took some silly penalties and that turned the game upside down. I told the players that they needed to dominate the whole game and not let the opposition take the initiative. This is international hockey and at this level every mistake will cost you. We need to understand that we have a strong team, strong enough to beat anyone in regulation time.

Kirill Semyonov, forward, Russia:

– It was a good, hard game with a lot of chances and a lot of goals. We were disrupted by too many unnecessary penalties. We should have been able to close out the win in the third period but in the end, we couldn’t hold on, our concentration let us down. The coaches told us how we needed to play against Sweden, they have a good, competitive team. But we should have been better in this game, get more pucks to the net, spend less time in the box. Those penalties broke our game and we need to cut them out.

Nikita Soshnikov, forward, Russia:

– Yeah, it’s good that we won but we can’t be satisfied with that kind of performance. I think it was down to a lack of experience and gametime as a team. We’re working with new partners and it’s not always quite working. It will be a big game against the Czechs, we’ve got plenty left to show in that one. They’re a tough opponent and it should be a good game.

Second win for Czechs

Russia’s next opponent, the Czech Republic, picked up its second win of the tournament with an overtime success over Finland. Jakub Krejcik scored the winner on Admiral’s Juho Olkinuora following a 2-2 tie in regulation.

The Finns twice led, going up in the second period through Juho Lammikko only for Vityaz defenseman Jakub Jerabek to tie the scores late in the frame. In the third session, Sakari Manninen restored the Finnish lead but former Metallurg man Tomas Filippi forced the extras with a last-minute equalizer.

Sunday sees Russia play the Czechs in the early game. A victory for the Czechs would guarantee Milos Riha’s team top spot in the tournament, but a Russian success could see the Red Machine win gold if Sweden can defeat Finland in regulation later in the evening.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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