IIHF World Championship round up - quarter finals

Friday, 13th May 2005

Hockey writer Tambo gives us his views on the Quarter Final stage of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship competition.

RUSSIA 4 FINLAND 3 (After penalty shots)

Russia advanced to the semi finals with a hard fought come back win over Finland.

The Finns dominated the first 10 mins of the opening period and took a two-goal lead.

Firstly, Pakaslahti tipped a blaster from Karalahti out on the right point for 1-0 after 7.34. The Russians looked sluggish and it was no surprise when the lead was doubled on the power play at 12.13. Jukka Hentonen skated down the left and shot as he crossed the blue line. The puck bounced off Sokolov and the inrushing defenceman Denisov tried to clear the mid air puck, but only succeeded in diverting it through the goalie’s pads. Russia then decided to wake up and the brilliance of Datsyuk and Ovechkin were beginning to cause the Finns a few problems. On 16.03 the aforementioned youngster Ovechkin, made it 1-2 when he came in and placed a low shot from left circle through the pads of Backstrom. A howler by Backstrom only 102 seconds later brought the Russians level. Kovalev passed the puck to the right point on the power play and a looping shot from Gusev was missed on the glove side by Backstrom. Another power play, this time to Finland, and they had the lead again. Timonen rifled a one timer from left point to give them a 3-2 lead at 18.52. That was it for the first, great hockey and lots more to come.

The second period started with the Finns on top again and Sokolov had to be alert to keep the scoreline unaltered. Finland were enjoying a solid power play at 11.04 when Datsyuk broke away down the left and wristed a pearler high over Backstrom’s stick side. 3-3 and the Russians were buoyant.

No more to report on the second, other than some great stick play by the Russians as they slowly took command of the game. End of 2 and a 3-3 scoreline.

Great end-to-end play in the third as both teams exchanged power play chances without troubling the scorers. Towards the end, both became defensively minded, not wanting to make that game-losing mistake. Finland had a chance to win it in the last minute but Sokolov stopped Jari Viuhkola’s shot and Hagman put the rebound wide of the gaping goal.

Finland seemed to be the dominant team in the 10 minutes overtime. Both goalies made smart glove saves from Malkin and Hagman as the game went to penalty shots.

Sokolov saved Finland’s first shot from Nummelin with a sprawling dive.
Kharitonov then beat Backstrom on the backhand to hit the outside of the post with the goal wide open
Peltonen tried a backhand move that Sokolov read well and padded the puck away.
Alexei Yashin scored first for Russia with neat stick handling from forehand to backhand and beat Backstrom.
Hagman put Finland right back in the game with a top shelfer. 1-1
Datsyuk repeated this with a top shelf goal of his own to put the Russians ahead.
Kapanen then went glove side to beat Sokolov for 2-2.
Afinogenov scored stickside on Backstrom for another go-ahead goal for Russia. 3-2
Olli Jokinen missed Finland’s next effort and Russia went through 4-3.

An amazing penalty shoot out to end a fantastic game of hockey in which neither team deserved to be eliminated.  A good comeback by the Russians as they march to the semi finals.


Canada edged Slovakia by the odd goal in nine to head for the semi finals and a match up with the impressive Russia.

Slovakia came out of the traps like a team possessed and with only 45 seconds on the clock took the lead. Palffy freed Gaborik with a superb pass, releasing him into the Canadian zone. Jovanovski made a desperate lunge to cover, bringing him down. Gaborik managed to get up in the same stride and deke Brodeur high on the stick side for the goal.  Great fast breaking hockey, and a play that the Canadians would have to look out for all game. Canada had their first power play of the game when Bartecko went for charging and the best power play team in the competition set about their opponents. Fisher held the puck in the zone and passed to Heatley who wristed one past Jan Lasek for 1-1 at 5.52. Slovakia went ahead for the second time on 8.22 when Lasek sent a long pass to Bartecko to feed Michal Handzus. Handzus skated in on the goalie who lunged at him, missed completely and the puck flew into the empty net for 2-1. End to end stuff all period and Canada equalised on 16.47. Great sequence of passing by the Canadians ended with Heatley passing from behind the net to Marleau who pushed it on to Smyth to score. 2-2 at the end of the first and the fans were left drooling at the prospect of more of the same in the second.

The crowd were not disappointed as both teams flew at each other. Canada’s big line of Nash Gagne and Thornton started to wear down the Slovak defence. Canada deservedly went 3-2 ahead on 24.21 when Nash picked up a wayward pass from Chara and shot on Lasek. The goalie seemed unprepared and Gagne reacted first to slot home the rebound. Sour note after this was an appalling cross check on Gagne who was dumped into the boards as he celebrated the goal. Vydareny sat out a 2 plus 10 for this.

Slovakia equalised on 34.08 as Demitra scored with 3 seconds left on a 5 on 3 power play.

More drama in the second when Regehr pulled down Palffy as he broke away and bore down on Brodeur and a penalty shot was awarded. Palffy tried going stick side but Brodeur somehow got his glove over his body to prevent the goal. That was at 35.08 and the period ended as it had began with both teams looking like scoring. End of the second and a 3-3 tie. Could there be any more left in this game?

The answer to that was yes, and how. Slovakia went ahead with a short-handed goal from Demitra at 43.56 but Canada were looking the stronger team. 48.15 gone and the game was again tied up when Simon Gagne converted a pass from Rick Nash to make it 4-4. Canada pressure finally told as the clock ticked down to 55.35 and Joe Thornton raced down on Lasek and whipped a rocket past his left ear for 4-3. A wonderful goal and one worth winning this enthralling contest.

My spy at the game, StormyK, reported that Canada just shaded the win, however had the Slovakian goalie been on better form things could have been different. More from Keith in my championship wrap up on Sunday.

CZECH REPUBLIC 3 USA 2 (After penalty shots)

Another thrilling quarter final with the Czechs gaining revenge for going out to the USA at the same stage last year. This time Vokoun got the better of Roach on the penalty shot.

The first period was dominated by the Czechs and although they outshot them 13-8, they were never able to impose their authority on the game. USA opened the scoring against the run of play at 9.18 as Cole fed Modano to skate past Kaberle and deposit the puck through Vokoun’s legs. Czech Republic continued to have the better of things and should have equalised on 17 mins when Hlavac wristed a good shot straight into DiPietro’s glove. Seconds later Slegr let go a cannon shot from centre point that was well stopped by the ever-impressive DiPietro. End of 1 and a somewhat lucky 1-0 lead to the USA.

Once again the Czech’s came out roaring and pressurised the American defence. USA had decided to play 5 men deep in their own zone, inviting the Czechs to come at them and find a way through if they could. Just like in the first period it was the Americans who scored. USA went on the power play while Kaberle was sitting out a minor for bringing down Cole at 24.39.  Half way through the penalty, on 25.47 Hauer found Parise right of the face off circle and he backhanded the puck into the slot for Parrish to score past Vokoun for 2-0. More chances for the Czechs went begging and they finished the second just as the first. Dominated the period by out shooting the USA by 18-8 and losing the only goal of the period.  40 mins gone and a surprising 2-0 to USA.

Same again in the third as the Czechs threw everything but the kitchen sink on DiPietro, who was having a dream game. Early on a blaster from Slegr hit DiPietro’s mask and he needed some urgent repairs. The goalie seemed to be ok. With 41.40 gone, the largely pro-Czech crowd erupted when a shot from the point finally beat DiPietro. The goalie immediately changed his mask for that of back up goalie Luongo. The Czechs continued their onslaught on DiPietro and the outstanding goalie denied Rucinsky even when being levelled by his own defenseman Miller. The goalie either needed some treatment after this play or was taking a well earned time out. Eventually pressure told and DiPietro took a 2 minute roughing penalty and on the resultant power play got the equaliser. With 49.50 gone Prospal moved the puck behind the net and found Spacek out on the right who fired high into the open side. USA had a chance to win the game around the 51 minute mark while on a 4 on 3 power play. Weight and Roach worked well on the point and Vokoun had to be focused to hold a blaster from Roach. Last chance also went to the Americans when Knuble fanned on a good chance in front of goal. That was it for the game as both teams tightened up to avoid any further loss. One noteworthy fact from the 60 mins is the shot count.  46-12 to the Czechs.

Into overtime and a great end-to-end 10 mins of hockey with chances on both sides to win. Firstly Liles had a good chance in the opening minute for USA but Vokoun made a good pad save. Then it was the turn of the Czechs as Rucinsky broke free and pinged the metal work. USA had one last chance on the power play with 1.45 left in the game but Vokoun was up to Roache’s last gasp effort.

So, penalty shots for the second year in a row between these two well matched teams.
Mike Knuble missed the first shot as Vokoun padded the puck away
Martin Rucinsky was first up for Czech Republic and he deked DiPietro on the backhand to make it 1-0
Doug Weight then pinged the right hand post and a miss for USA
Hlavac then did exactly the same for the Czechs. Still 1-0
Mike Modanon then tried to shoot high but Vokoun stacked the pads to keep the puck out
Czech hero Jaromir Jagr was next up but despite a couple of nice dekes, DiPietro read him and stopped the puck with his right pad.
Mark Parrish next and a high and wide shot missed the mark.
Ales Hemsky was next up and some nice stick work was eventually pokechecked by DiPietro.

Now down to a contest between Roach and Vokoun in a repeat of last year when Roach scored the winner. Roach tried a close in backhand but Vokoun came out triumphant this time as he gloved the shot. The Czechs had got their revenge and go to the semis.


Sweden took their expected place in the semi finals with a comfortable if not spectacular win over tricky Switzerland. It was always going to be tough against the in form goalie of the tournament Martin Gerber.

Switzerland shocked Sweden by taking the lead on 1.20 while on the power play for a very early high sticking call on Krnovall. Ivo Ruthemann shot over the glove of Lundqvist to give them a 1-0 advantage. The equaliser came on 6.45 as Kronvall drilled a shot top right corner from the slot for 1-1. Sweden continued to press until the end of the period with Gerber making a couple of comfortable saves.

Sweden came out strong in the second and went ahead on 24.43 as Jonsson passed and sent Daniel Sedin in one on one with the goalie. A nice little move ended with him roofing the puck passed Gerber. Sweden dominated again and at the end of the period it was 2-1 and a shot count of 26-10 in favour of Tre Krone.

Not much happened in the third. Sweden continued to look the better team but with only a one-goal advantage, stayed cautious for most of the time. The game ended with no further scoring and the Swedes head to the semi finals.

What a great day of hockey in Austria with all four quarterfinals decided either by one goal or a penalty shot. The four winners now have a day off to prepare for the final push to the medal games on Sunday.

Semi Finals are on Saturday


Russia v Canada is widely believed to be the greatest rivalry in the sport. Canada has had the upper hand recently but the Russian machine is rolling along nicely thank you. It should be a great offensive contest with the superline of Thornton, Nash and Gagne for the North Americans going head to head with Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and Ovechkin for scoring honours. Then we have Martin Brodeur, probably the best goalie in the world backstopping the champions. Cannot wait for this one. My prediction... Canada by the odd goal.


Sweden were not expected to do so well this year without Forsberg, Naslund, Sundin and Lidstrom but they have worked well as a team and progressed quietly. Young guns Daniel Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg have come to the show and are looking able replacements for the old guard. The Czechs have returned this year with over half last season’s squad and they look really good going forward. Will Jagr, Sykora and Rucinsky have too much experience for the Swedish young guns? This may well be down to a head to head between Vokoun and Lundqvist.  My prediction... a tight no compromising game with the Czechs going to the gold medal game.

More at the weekend as the competition draws to a climax and hopefully news on GB’s opponents in next year’s qualifiers.


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