Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
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The Russians played a more active game, trying to be more disciplined and controlling the puck in the neutral zone. The changes worked and Team Russia celebrated its first win at this year’s WJC.

Head coach Sergei Zubov decided to limit the changes after the first game, having Yegor Guskov starting the game between the piping, moving Vasily Ponomaryov to the third line, and replacing Alexander Pashin with Ivan Didkovsky. Michkov was excellent once again, with several clear-cut scoring chances and a nifty third-period goal after a play that stunned the Swiss defense for speed and cleanness of execution.

The Russians started the game strong, with several scoring chances created by the top lines. Then, after six minutes, Danila Yurov found his first tally of the tournament after a fast rush led by Nikita Chibrikov. Marat Khusnutdinov and Kirill Kirsanov tried to double the Russian advantage, but Switzerland’s Kevin Pasche remained composed and ready to neutralize both chances. Sergei Zubov’s men started the game with much more discipline if compared to the game against Team Sweden, and Russia controlled the game for most of the first part of the starting frame. With about five minutes to go in the first period, Dmitry Zlodeyev escaped the Swiss defense on the left flank, then a ricochet behind the crease fooled Pasche and the Spartak’s forward could put it in the empty net for the Russian 2:0 lead. Two minutes later, the Russians added another when Pavel Tyutnev finished a long shift in the Swiss zone with a quick snapshot deep in the slot. Game over? Absolutely not. With about one minute to go, the Swiss managed to get away with the puck in the offensive zone and, on a three-on-two rush, forward Attilio Biasca found himself in the right spot in the right moment to beat Guskov with an accurate wrister that went in glove-side. It was only the Swiss’ fourth shot of the night.

The Swiss started strong the second frame, hitting the goalpost with Joshua Fahrni – who assisted Biasca’s first-period goal – after just twenty seconds. After surviving the scare, the Russians had their first powerplay of the night, but the best chance was on the Swiss side when Christophe Cavalleri went one-on-one against Guskov after a blue-line mistake by Kirill Kirsanov on a play that reminded Team Sweden’s 2:0 goal of yesterday, but this time the Russian goalie stood on his head and stopped the attempt.

Closer to the end of the second period, the Russians pushed the gas, but Pasche stopped all Team Russia’s attempt, in particular with two big saves on Michkov and Khusnutdinov.

In the closing frame, the Russians mostly maintained the control of the play, but Tyutnev got caught on a tripping play at the fifth minute, giving the Swiss their first powerplay of the night. Team Russia made good guard of the slot, but a blueline shot by Joel Henry rattled the crossbar getting the Swiss close to return in game consideration. However, Sergei Zubov’s men had another rush and this time the first line clicked to perfection with the puck moving at fantastic speed from Khusnutdinov to Semyon Demidov and ultimately to Matvei Michkov, who buried the chance with a shot from close in for his third of the tournament.

With a three-goal advantage, in the dying minutes Team Russia lost a bit of concentration and allowed the Swiss to cut down the lead to two when Fabian Ritzmann deflected a shot right in front of Guskov. The Russian bench challenged the goal for an offside, but the video review proved the refs right and it resulted on a late powerplay for the Swiss, who simply lacked the time to create any actual danger to the opposition.

Team Russia will now take a day off and return facing Slovakia on Dec 29 in its third round-robin game.

Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
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