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World Championships 2011 - Day 3

Monday, 2nd May 2011

2nd game for Groups A and B and my predictions are looking a bit shaky. Russia continue to stutter and a 6-4 win over Slovenia flattered them. Cannot see them winning with the dodgy Nabukov in goal. Canada blitz France as 8 different scorers hit the twine. Germany hang on for their second win of the tournament, 4-3 against hosts Slovakia and Switzerland are far too good for Belarus.

Group A

Russia 6-4 Slovenia

The big red machine misfired for most of this game as a spirited Slovenia took them to the limit.

Russia got off to a great start and when Hocevar took an interference penalty they attacked the Slovenian zone. With 22 seconds left on the powerplay Ilya Kovalchuk sent the puck across the blue line for Atyushov to blast a one timer past the goalie high on the blocker side. Two major incidents also happened in this period. Firstly Marcel Rodman collided with Tereshenko and the Russian was helped off theice with a knee injury. A few minutes later Alexei Yemelin checked Jeglic from behind and the Slovenian had to be helped off the ice with his face covered in blood. Yemelin received a game misconduct for the check and could expect a ban when the disciplinary board meet tomorrow.

Solid Russian defence killed off the major and a 5 on 3 penalty kill and despite outshooting their opponents 10-8 , Slovenia went to the first break a goal down.

Russia had more shots on goal in the first half of the second period but it was Slovenia who scored to tie the game. Gregorc passed the puck to the front of the net for Heber to rush in and slip it past a badly positioned Nabukov. With 5 minutes left in the period Russia scored a go ahed goal. Afinogenov wristed the puck past an unsighted Hocevar to score. Not surprising he was unsighted with the giant Artyukin parked in front of him. End of 2nd 2-1 to Russia.

The third should have been scripted for Slovenia to tire and capitulate to the red machine but nobody in the Slovenian side read the script. 2.49 gone in the period and they equalised again. Sivic crashed the Russian net then spun to send a backhand to the front and Golicic was all on his own to hit his own rebound into the net. Then Kulikov hit an absolute rocket past Hocevar on 46.15 to take the lead again. 40 seconds later it was 4-2 when Afinogenov scored his second as he took a pass from Zaripov to score. That should have been game set and match, but once again the Slovenians showed true character. 28 seconds later Nabukov was left stranded as Golicic took a pass from a face off and wristed goalwards and it took a deflection up and over the surprised Nabukov. The game was tied 4 minutes later and again Nabukov was at fault as he failed to cover a Tavzelj shot and Palic was the first to get to the loose puck to make the score 4-4. Radulov scored the game winning goal with less than 4 minutes left as he found himself all alone on the right side to sweep the puck home. Zinoviev put the icing on the cake with 39 seconds remaining to give the Russians the win albeit with a rather flattering 6-4 scoreline.

The knee on knee collision that may have put Tereshenko out of the competition.

Slovakia 3-4 Germany

A packed and partisan arena had little to shout about in the first period with both teams missing good chances. After 7 minutes Germany hit penalty trouble with both Schulz and Lavalee in the box, giving Slovakia a long 5 on 3 powerplay. They failed to score although Marian Gaborik hit the crossbar. Shortly afterwards Patrick Reimar but was hauled down by Hossa. As this was the first stoppage in play after the crossbar hit, the video review team decided that the Hossa shot did not go in and only then could Reimar take his penalty shot, which he missed. End of the 1st 0-0 with Slovakia outshooting Germany 11-7.

Germany took the lead on 24.51 when Muller scored off a perfect feed from Christoph Ullman. This silenced the vibrant home crowd and Slovakia went into a defensive shell. 33.07 and the crowd were even more quiet as they doubled the lead. Hossa turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Shutz made a perfect cross ice pass to John Tripp on the rush and a superb one timer flashed past Halak for 2-0. There was no stopping Germany at this point as they dominated the game and deservedly went 3 goals up on 36.35 when Hordler took a pass from Ullman to shoot high blocker side past Halak. A superb period for the Germans with an 18-6 shot count and totally in control. Or were they?

Slovakia must have had Irn Bru at the break as they came out like rats out of a trap and took the game to Germany. But it was Germany who scored first and made it 4-0 on 44.37 when Schutz took John Tripp’s pass from behind the goal to smash it home with glee.

Less than a minute later Nagy smacked home a loose puck for 4-1 to re ignite the crowd and at 48.49 Stumpel hit a rebound behind Patzold for 4-2. Time out Germany and a worried coach Uwe Krupp settled the team down. The Slovaks were well fired up now and Demitra sent the crowd wild with a backhander from a Marian Hossa rebound for 4-3 with 7.17 left in the game and Germany was reeling. With 180 seconds left Demitra fired wide when it looked easier to score and that was the last chance they had, despite pulling Halak for the last minute of the game. A thrilling win for Germany but the Slovaks kept the faith with their fans for a spirited but ultimately failed rally in the game.

Group B

Canada 9-1 France

France started badly and took a hooking penalty after just 16 seconds and Gragnani punished them by hitting a rebound from a Spezza shot high past Huet. Spezza made it 2-0 a few minutes later when he hit a speculative shot on goal and it hit a French skate and deflected past Huet. Skinner scored his first goal with a lovely goal with 12 minutes on the clock and Canada went to the first break with a three goal lead.

The second period was much closer and France pulled a goal back on 29.14 on the powerplay. Bellemare scoring with assists from Treille and Auviti. France had changed their goalkeeper at the start of the second period with Huet being replaced by Lhenry. Canada regained their big lead with two goals in 40 seconds through Stewart and Pieterangelo. 5-1 end of the second and the North Americans were in easy street.

Burns and Rick Nash added two more goals for Canada within 4 minutes of the re start and Skinner scored his second goal of the night with a well taken penalty shot. Reimer was given a rest after the 7th goal and Dubnyk came on for his championship debut. Skinner then scored a neat penalty shot and Zajac ended the scoring with just over 2 minutes left.

Canada are the first team to qualify for the second round and this young team has gelled pretty quickly and will be tricky opponents for any side later in the competition.

Switzerland 4-1 Belarus

Switzerland had a lot to prove to their travelling fans tonight after a dismal performance against France and their Bern first line came up with the goods. Martin Pluss, Ivo Ruthemann and Ryan Gardner scored for fun in their Bern team in regular season league play in Switzerland but came up blank in the first game. This all changed against Belarus as Gardner scored twice and Rutheman once in a comfortable 4-1 win.

Gardner scored the only goal of the first period, when, on the powerplay he parked himself at the front of the net and redirected a Diaz shot into the net past the screened Andrei Mezin. Belarus equalised early in the second when Korolov picked up the puck in the high slot and sent a slapshot stickside of Tobias Stephan and into the net. Switzerland then blew the game apart with three goals in 6 minutes. Firstly a neat solo goal from Goran Bezina who pulled the puck along the boards on the left and cut in to the goal. Mezin tried a poke check but Bezina slipped the puck past him. At 27.03 a Gerber slapshot hit the back boards wide of the goal and Gardner scored before Mezin could recover. They hadn’t finished there and Rutheman scored the 4th with a superb shot high over Mezin’s glove to give the Eidgenossen a three goal lead going into the second break.

No goals in the third period as a frustrated Belarus side got into penalty trouble and the Swiss, having secured their second win, played controlled hockey to see out the game.

Tonights results mean Germany, Slovakia and Russia qualify for the second round with Slovenia heading to the relegation round from Group A and Switzerland and Canada go through from Group B with France and Belarus fighting each other in game 3 to head for the second round or the relegation bun fight.

Tambo

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