The Red Machine looked strong in the first period, but was unable to take its chances as Roman Will had a good game in the Czech net. At the other end, debutant Alexander Samonov was a virtual spectator in the early exchanges but found himself picking the puck out of his net in the 11th minute after Ivan Mishchenko was caught bringing play out of the Russian zone. Michal Repik made the interception and fed Jan Kovar for the opening goal.
The second period saw more Russian pressure, including a 5-on-3 power play, but there were few testing shots for Will to deal with. Midway through the third period an incident in front of the Russian net prompted a video review. There were suspicions that a Russian defenseman might have handled the puck on the goal line, which would have resulted in a penalty shot. On closer inspection, though, it transpired that the puck had fully crossed the line before anyone could interfere with it and Traktor’s Lukas Sedlak was credited with the Czechs’ second goal. In the closing stages, Andrej Nestrasil fired into an empty net to complete the scoring. It was the Metallurg man’s second goal of the competition.
As a result of this win, the Czechs completed three victories from three games to top the table. Russia, with one shoot-out win over Sweden, finished in third place ahead of the Tre Kronor. The final game in the competition saw Finland edge its Nordic neighbor 2-1 to take second place with Sibir goalie Harri Sateri making 40 saves to keep the Swedes at bay. Vityaz forward Miro Aaltonen and Jokerit defenseman Mikko Lehtonen got the goals.
Alexei Kudashov, head coach, Russia:
– Today’s game was disappointing. We were more or less OK until that first error, we had some good movement, some chances to score. But then we just stopped, we gave up playing with any aggression. Our power play completely failed. This is a new level for these players, much tougher than club hockey. The tournament as a whole had good and bad points. We got a look at all the new candidates [for the national team], the players gained international experience and understand what they need to work on in future.
Igor Ozhiganov, defenseman, Russia:
– We had chances on the power play, but we couldn’t take them. I had some chances myself but couldn’t get a goal. The Czechs played later than us yesterday, so I don’t there was any problem about recovery time. We took too many penalties again, that’s a question of discipline. There was a great desire among everyone to win the game and the mood in the locker room was good. We were up for it, but the outcome let us down.