Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Russia wrapped up its Karjala Cup campaign with a convincing victory over the Czechs, securing third place in the opening round of Euro Hockey Tour action. Captain Dmitry Voronkov led the way with three points and Matvei Michkov was on the scoresheet again as a youthful Russian roster bounced back after dropping its first two games in Finland.

Russia 5 Czech Republic 2 (2-0, 2-1, 1-1)

Photo: 14.11.21. Eurohockey tour 2021-2022. Karial Cup. Czech Republic - Russia

Both teams had struggled in their previous games here, so getting the right start was vital. And for Russia, a fourth-minute power play goal from Lokomotiv’s Alexander Yelesin was the perfect tonic. The Red Machine went ahead in a game for the first time this weekend and that was the confidence boost needed to steer the team towards the winning post. Late in the opening frame, a second power play chance brought a second goal as Voronkov got his first of the afternoon. Marat Khusnutdinov assisted on both markers in that first period.

After the break, Michkov continued his flying start in international hockey when he grabbed his second goal of the tournament. Initially, this effort was credited to Voronkov, who pressured Czech goalie Stepan Lukes on the crease. However, it was Lukes himself who deflected Michkov’s shot into his own net. Midway through the session, Nikita Tertyshny made it 4-0 and chased Lukes from the Czech net.

Russia was always in control of the game, but the Czechs recovered some pride. Late in the second period, Matej Stransky pulled one back on the power play and a David Kase goal midway through the third even hinted at a fightback. Head coach Filip Pesan withdrew goalie Petr Kvaca with more than three minutes to play, but Voronkov set up Artyom Galimov for an empty net goal to seal Russia’s win.

Sergei Zubov, acting head coach, team Russia
We played well, it’s good to finish this stage with a win. Today we managed to score early on the power play. In the third period we lost our way a bit, the Czechs got on top, but we coped with the pressure and kept playing our hockey, following the systems we set up in the first period.

On the third goal, the puck fell under the goalie’s leg and seemed to get stuck. But it was Michkov, our youngest player, who scored for us. I hope Matvei will continue to develop. I’d like to see him making more progress and maybe paying less attention to the internet! I think Michkov is ready to play games at the highest level. He sees the ice well and he has a great shot.

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