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World Championships 2011 - Day 7

Friday, 6th May 2011

The qualifying and relegation rounds got underway on day 7 of the championships with teams fighting for a place in the knockout stages and to avoid relegation to Division1 for next season.

Group E

Russia 4-3 Denmark

At last!!! The best forward line in the competition finally turned up. Zaripov, Zinoviev and Morozov have been together for 3 championships but had not fired until this game. A hat trick from Zinoviev, with linemate Zaripov assisting on all three, was the highlight of the match. These two had been linemates at Bars Kazan for six seasons and their International linemate Morozov chipped in with two assists.

Russia started slowly and looked lethargic but still took the lead on 9.26, sending the puck into an empty net after Andersen in the Danish goal was out of position having been deked by Nikulin. Denmark shocked their illustrious opponents by equalising on 11.12. Kirill Starkov rushed into the zone and got off a shot that clipped off Hardt’s skate past Nabokov. This was an important goal for Starkov, who was born in Yekaterinburg in Russia but moved to Denmark with his family when he wa 4 and now has Danish citizenship. The Danes delighted the neutrals in the crowd with just 15 seconds left as the Russian defence back pedalled, allowing Bodker to cut across the crease to score on Nabokov’s stick side. End of the first and 2-1 to Denmark. Then came the ZZM show. Zinoviev tied the game at 30.08 as he rushed the net to sweep a centering pass from Morozov into the net. His hat trick goal came on 34.18 after a Zaripov rush was stopped. Zinoviev picked up the loose puck and fired it high over Andersen’s right shoulder. End of the second and 3-2 to Russia.

The expected onslaught in the third never really took place although Russia controlled the game. The went 4-2 up when giant forward Artyukhin bullied his way through the defence to the top of the crease and backhanded a Korneyev rebound into the net. Denmark refused to lie down and made it a one goal game on 47.27 as Hardt got his second goal of the game. Nabokov appeared to have picked up a strain and was replaced by Barulin. With his dodgy form over the tournament, one has to wonder if it is an injury of convenience for a once great goaltender who looks short of confidence.

Denmark pulled the goalie with over 2 minutes left to try and salvage something from the game but Russia held firm for the victory.

This result leaves Denmark with 0 points and only two games to play and qualification for the knockout round looks unlikely.

Group F

Switzerland 2-3 Norway

Norway blew Group F wide open with this deserved victory over Switzerland.

Norway jumped into a two goal lead in the first period with defenceman Jonas Holas shooting at every opportunity. He scored the opening goal at 8.47 with a superb one timer through a screen and assisted on the second as, with the clock running out at the end of the period, he ripped a shot from centre ice. The shot was saved by Stephan but Skroder sent the rebound home past the floundering goalie. Switzerland should have scored on the preceding play when Lotscher burst up the middle but sent his shot into the chest of Lars Haugen in the Norwegian goal.

There was only one goal in the second period and it went to Switzerland at 28.35 when Thibaut Monnet surprised haugen with a quick shot in front of goal. The rest of the period was like the first, mainly unremarkable or interesting. Switzerland looked lack lustre and struggled to find their A game.

Norway found the insurance goal on with 2.48 gone in the third. Holtet picked the puck, raced up ice and got a shot off which rebounded kindly to Forsberg, who followed up to smack the puck into the net. Diaz pulled a goal back for Switzerland 5 minutes later with a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and past Haugen. Switzerland pulled their goalie in the last minute but could not find an equaliser. To be honest it would have done the Norwegians a disservice should they had done.

Norway’s win blows the group wide open and gives them a fair chance of making the next round.

Group G Relegation Round

Slovenia 5-2 Latvia

Despite a scoreless first period the game flowed end to end with both teams making high quality chances which were countered by superb goaltending by Masalskis and Kristan. One major chance of note was when Stals had a wide open net but shot over the bar. Latvia just shaded the period and outshot Slovenia 9-7.

If the first period belonged to Latvia, the second definitely went in favour of the Slovenians. With 7.59 on the clock and Redlihs in the penalty box for holding, Slovenia struck the first blow. Robar sent the puck from the blue line to Jeglic down low. He waited for a defenceman to come to him and passed the puck cross ice to Tiker who onetimed the puck, beating Masalskis high on the stick side.

Then the Rodman brothers ably assisted by Tomas Razinger took over. Firstly, at 33.55 Marcel Rodman picked up a pass from his brother David and clipped it over to Razinger who hammered it past Masalskis for a 2-0 lead. The combination worked again with 49 seconds left in the period. The goal was a mirror image of the second goal when David skated down the right, passed over to brother Marcel who found Razinger in front of the net to score. End of the period and Latvia looked crestfallen as they skated for the break.

Latvia came out looking for a fast start to claw themselves back into the game, but instead it was Slovenia who wrapped the game up with a 4th goal after just 54 seconds. The goal had an element of cheekiness to it. A slapshot from Sabolic deflected off a defenceman straight to Tikar who shot the puck backhanded through his legs with his back to goal to deceive Masalskis. 33 seconds later it was 5-0 as Pajic wristed a shot from the slot past the Latvian goalie. That was it for Masalskis and Raitums got his first appearance in the tournament.

With the game out of reach, Latvia lost a bit of discipline and Pujacs picked up game misconduct for a check from behind. The same player looked like he was still seething at a hooking penalty he had just served a minor for. This brought the obligatory afters and Hebar of Slovenia sat out a minor roughing penalty. Latvia scored two late goals through Cipulis and Bukarts but it was too little too late and the game ended with a somewhat surprising 5-2 win for Slovenia.

Belarus 7-2 Austria

These two teams came into the relegation round with 3 and 1 goal respectively in the preliminary round and it was Belarus that found their scoring touch in this game. They took the lead on 4.06 when Kostitsyn set up Kovyrshin in the slot to score past the Austrian goalie. Grabovski made it 2-0 with just less than 3 minutes left in the period, picking up a pass on the left and shooting top corner on the short side past Penker. Belarus were not finished with the period yet and went 3-0 up on 18.57 as Kostitsyn grabbed his first goal of the tournament, converting a pass from Kulakov.

The second followed the first with Austria looking a beaten team.Goalie Penker had seen enough action and was replaced by Weinhandl in the Austrian goal. Demkov made it 4-0 at the half way point of the game and to rub salt in the wounds, Demagin broke away shorthanded at 32.49 to make it 5-0.

Austria did score a couple of consolation goals in the third. Firstly Setzinger scored on the powerplay early in the period only for Belarus to counter with a 6th and 7th goal through Korabov and Kulakov. Michael Schiechl scored at 53.29 to add a bit of respectability but the Austrians were a well beaten team by the time the hooter went.

Austrian forward Setzinger summed up the game in the post match interview by saying: “We’re just not good enough. That’s all there is too it. There is nothing else to say.”

Comments like that do not bode well for the Austrian side who have to pick themselves up if they are to have any chance of retaining their Elite status.

Tambo

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World Championships 2011 - Day 6


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