Russia wins Sweden Hockey Games...
...but fells a point short of Euro-Tour title
FEB.10 -- Russian National team defeated Sweden and Czech Republic during recent week-end and finished first at the Sweden Hockey Games with a perfect record.
Unfortunately Vladimir Plyuschev's squad fell a point short of what could have been their first ever Euro-Tour title, as Finland beat Sweden in a shut-out on Sunday and propelled its season points total to quartet high 22.
Russia secured the victory at the Games on Saturday with a 4-2 win over Tre Kronor, while 19-year old phenom Igor Grigorenko, selected top forward at the recent World Junior Championships, pulled a thing know as a hat-trick.
Sweden scored first at 6:59 of the opening period. Niklas Andersson took advantage of Andrei Tsarev's slow recovery to capitalize on his own rebound. Russia answered with Sergei Krivokrasov's third tally of the tournament prior to intermission. A classic three-on-two rush led by defenseman Sergei Vyshedkevich was culminated by a savvy pass to Krivo who had a wide open portion of the net to shoot at.
The game was basically solved in the second period when Grigorenko scored twice. 5:30 into the period Yaroslavl's Vladimir Antipov slipped past Swedish rearguard down the left side and threw a cross ice pass for Grigorenko who knocked bouncing puck past Daniel Henriksson. With 33 seconds left to play Lada Togliatti's forward beat screened Henriksson with a shot to the topshelve.
Niklas Nordgren gave his teammates along with some 14 thousand fans, who packed the Glöbe Arena, some hope with an early goal in the third period. But Russia defended its lead with authority and late in the game Grigorenko completed his hat-trick with an empty net goal.
Sunday's game against Czech Republic was by no means a formality, as Plyuschev's side still hoped to clinch Euro-Tour title.
The first period was scoreless with Czechs dominating the play and outshooting Russia 14-8.
For the remaining two periods Plyuschev decided to roll with three forward lines and six defensemen. Alexei Tereschenko, Alexander Polushin, Ruslan Bernikov, Denis Grebeshkov and Vladimir Malenkikh were all benched.
Halfway trough the period Sergei Zinoviev put his team on board. Boston Bruins prospect scored on a rebound off Alexander Suglobov's shot.
Czech Republic was able to equalize four minutes later. Avangard Omsk's own Tomas Vlasak intercepted poor cleaning attempt by Sergei Krivokrasov and set up Tomas Kucharcik for the goal. However 46 seconds later Zinoviev restored Russia's lead, as he stole the puck away from Frantisek Kucera and beat Adam Svoboda from in close.
Three minutes into the final period Russia took a comfortable two goal lead after Vladimir Antipov scored his team's loan power-play tally at the tournament. All the signs pointed to Russia's fifth straight win over Slavomir Lener's team this season. But Yaroslavl's netminder Egor Podomatsky decided to add some intrigue to the remaining 15 minutes of the game when he was beaten by a wacky Petr Kadlec shot taken from the red line. Fortunately enough for Podomatsky his teammates stood firm in defending the lead.
Goaltender Andrei Tsarev and rearguard Sergei Vyshedkevich were named the best at their positions at the tournament. Both made event's All-star team, so did forward Igor Grigorenko.
For the first time in Euro-Tour history Russia won two stages in one season. In September Vladimir Plyuschev's squad was triumphant at the Czeske Pojstovna Cup in Prague.
The play of Russian team at the SHG drew a lot of praise and admiration from European hockey community.
"This Russian team always aims at showcasing their impressive offensive style. They're reminiscent of the forgotten great Soviet teams," - said Finnish head coach Hannu Aravirta.
Russia finished second in Euro-Tour competition for the third straight season.
RUSSIA - SWEDEN 4-2 (1-1, 2-0, 1-1)
Russia: Tsarev. Skopintsev - Vyshedkevich, Yerofeev - Proshkin, Gusev - Turkovsky, Malenkikh - Grebeshkov. Krivokrasov - Chupin - Grigorenko, Antipov - Zinoviev - Suglobov, Soin - Tereschenko - Polushin, Bernikov - Trubachev - Perezhogin.
0-1 SWE 6:59 Andersson (Davidsson)
1-1 RUS 18:31 Krivokrasov,3 (Vyshedkevich, Chupin)
Penalty: Jouhansson SWE (cross-check) 13:08.
2-1 RUS 5:30 Grigorenko,1 (Antipov)
3-1 RUS 19:27 Grigorenko,2 (Chupin)
Penalty: Kahnberg SWE (tripping) 10:23.
3-2 SWE 1:49 Nordgren (Rönnqvist, Tjärnqvist)
4-2 RUS 19:43 Grigorenko,3 (Krivokrasov)
Penalties: Polushin RUS (tripping) 14:03. Johansson SWE (high-stick) 14:54.
Goaltenders: Tsarev (W,2-0-0) 30/32 - Henriksson 14/17.
RUS 6 7 5 -- 18
SWE 9 12 11 -- 32
Power play: Russia 0/3, Sweden 0/1.
February 8. Stockholm. Glöbe Arena. A - 13,850.
CZECH REPUBLIC - RUSSIA 2-3 (0-0, 1-2, 1-1)
Russia: Podomatsky. Skopintsev - Vyshedkevich, Yerofeev - Proshkin, Gusev - Turkovsky, Malenkikh - Grebeshkov. Krivokrasov - Chupin - Grigorenko, Antipov - Zinoviev - Suglobov, Soin - Tereschenko - Polushin, Bernikov - Trubachev - Tkachenko, Perezhogin.
Penalties: Krivokrasov RUS (hooking) 0:25. Balastik CZE (hooking) 4:39. Malenkikh RUS (holding stick) 11:00. Beranek CZE (hooking) 12:16. Sykora CZE (high-stick) 16:20.
0-1 RUS 10:02 Zinoviev,1 (Suglobov)
1-1 CZE 13:44 Kucharcik (Vlasak)
1-2 RUS 14:30 Zinoviev,2
Penalty: Perezhogin RUS (high-stick) 5:04.
1-3 RUS 3:51 Antipov,1 (Suglobov, Zinoviev)
2-3 CZE 5:01 Kadlec (Kucera)
Penalties: Vlasak CZE (holding-stick) 2:23. Kadlec CZE (tripping) 17:22.
Goaltenders: Svoboda 24/27 - Podomatsky (W,2-0-0) 32/34.
CZE 14 6 14 -- 34
RUS 8 9 10 -- 27
Power play: Czech Republic 0/3, Russia 1/5.
February 9. Stockholm. Glöbe Arena. A - 2,671.
Team Russia: Player Statistics
Rk Team GP W OW SW L OL SL GF-GA TP
1 RUSSIA 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 14-7 11
2 SWEDEN 4 1 0 1 1 0 1 11-10 6
3 CANADA 4 1 0 0 1 0 2 11-15 5
4 FINLAND 4 0 1 1 1 1 0 9-9 5
5 CZECH REPUBLIC 4 0 0 1 2 1 0 6-10 3
Rk Team GP W WO LO L GF-GA TP
1 FINLAND 12 5 3 1 3 26-20 22
2 RUSSIA 12 4 4 1 3 28-26 21
3 CZECH REPUBLIC 12 4 1 3 4 33-33 17
4 SWEDEN 12 3 0 3 6 24-32 12