Sweden 4 Russia 2 (1-0, 2-2, 1-0)
There were several changes from Thursday night’s opener. Acting head coach Oleg Bratash had to return to Moscow for family reasons and his place behind the bench went to Sergei Zubov. The coaching staff also shuffled all the lines on the team: Traktor’s Nikita Tertyshny moved to the first line, Michkov was promoted to the second, and there were call-ups for forwards Vasily Ponomaryov and Fyodor Svechkov, plus defensemen Yegor Savikov, Nikita Smirnov and Vladimir Gudinin. Yaroslav Askarov started in goal.
Russia made a lively start to the game and initially it was Sweden’s Gustaf Lindvall who was the busier of the goalies. Svechkov and Michkov both had chances, as did Nikita Guslistov, but it was the Swedes who went in front late in the frame when a positional error in the Russian defense helped Anton Bengtsson to break the deadlock.
Early in the second, Russia tied the game — and this was a memorable moment for all concerned. It wasn’t just that Michkov opened his account in international hockey, smashing the record for Russia’s youngest goalscorer in the process. It was also the manner of his big moment, collecting a shot that rebounded from the backboards and lifting it onto the crook of his stick to slam home a lacrosse-style effort from behind the net. Echoes of Mikael Granlund, shades of Andrei Svechnikov and a major new talent announcing itself on the big stage. And Michkov is not even 17 until next month.
However, the highlight of the game was not destined to be a pivotal moment in terms of deciding the outcome. Carl Klingberg quickly restored Sweden’s lead and, after Artyom Galimov tied it up at 2-2, Anton Lander restored the Tre Kronor’s advantage late in the middle frame. Lander, who previously played for Ak Bars and Lokomotiv, then got a helper in the third as ex-Torpedo man Klingberg potted his second of the game to make the final scoreline 4-2.
Sergei Zubov, acting head coach
[On Michkov’s goal]: You don’t often see something like that. He had a split second to make the decision. Obviously, it’s a supergoal. His line with Galimov did well, they got a bit more ice time in the third period, we gave them more time. You’d have to ask the defensemen [if it’s embarrassing to allow a 16-year-old to score like that]. I think it is, of course.
Matvei Michkov, forward
In the first period I should have scored, but the puck didn’t quite drop for me. In the second, when I scored, everything fell into place; the puck dropped onto the crook, I decided to give it a go and it all worked out. I think it helped our team: we got a second goal right away, there was an emotional boost after that goal.
I don’t even remember when I learned that trick. If you keep slaving away at it, you can work these things out. I’d like to dedicate the goal to my family, who always believed in me.