World Championships - Qualifying Round

Friday, 12th May 2006

The qualifying round starts today with Russia taking on Ukraine and Canada playing hosts Latvia. The top 3 teams in each group have qualified for 3 more round robin games. The bottom team in each group will now play each other in the relegation round which starts tomorrow.

The qualifying round has 2 groups and is composed of the following:

Group E is composed of the top three teams from Group A (Finland, Czech Republic, Latvia) and Group D (Canada, USA, Norway). Group F features the top three teams from Group B (Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine) and Group C (Russia, Belarus, Slovakia).
These teams carry forward the points gained in the Preliminary Round with the teams that they have played and advance with. Teams, which have played in the Preliminary Round, do not meet again in the Qualifying Round. For example, Canada starts with four points from beating the USA and Norway, but the two points from the victory over Relegation Round-doomed Denmark don't count toward its Qualifying Round totals.


First of the qualifying round games and once again fussy refereeing in the early part of the game. However that all changed on 14:01 when Oleksander Bobkin brutally kneed one of the Russian forwards and quite correctly was given a 5 plus game. It didn’t take the red machine long to take advantage and at 16:06 scored their first goal. Kulyash passed down the left to Ovechkin who quickly found captain Sushinsky behind the goal. He skated to the left and scored a wrap a round past Karpenko. Russia had another couple of chances in the powerplay but poor finishing kept the score the same. End of the period 1-0 to Russia

Dull, flat second period. Russia doing all the pressing and Ukraine defending and relying on the break out for any chance at all. Russia outshooting Ukraine 31-17 but the score remains 1-0

Russia started the third on the powerplay and at 41:03 extended their lead. Malkin put the puck in the mix in front of goal and Ovechkin, with his back to goal backhanded a crisp shot that the goalie could only parry to the left. Sushinsky was all alone at the post to tap the puck home for his own and Russia’s second goal. Assists to Malkin and Ovchenko.Five minutes later and it was 3-0. Sushinksy worked the puck back to the point and Kruchinin let a big one go and Ovechkin with his back to goal played the puck between his legs and into the net. Timed at 46:06. at 48.19 and Russia on a 5 on 3 with Gunko and Navarenko in the box for Ukraine, it was 4-0. Kulyash took a pass on the blueline from Nikulin , took time to stop the puck, line it up and blast an unstoppable shot past Mozyakin. Witth 9 minutes to go and the game in the bag, Russia gave Alexander Fomichev some ice time in goal as he replaced Zvyagin. The red machine scored again on 53.47. Misharin threw a speculative puck into the mix and Mozyakin tipped the puck in. Scoring was completed on 57:03 as Russia went 6-0 up on yet another powerplay. Gorovikov played the puck from behind the goal to Mozyakin who passed left and Grigorenko beat the goalie.  Final score Russia 6 Ukraine 0 and an easy well worked win for Russia. Ukraine were disappointing and only relied on the break for their chances.


Canada’s young guns take on hosts Latvia in a red hot arena in Riga.   First in the  box at 1:59 was Canada’s Mike Richards for hooking. Latvia pressed but only managed 1 shot on goal before Tamijevs hit the box on a holding penalty to make it 4 on 4. Canada took the lead on 5:41 on the powerplay. Great pass from Stuart on the left to Jason Williams who sent a blistering shot on goal that whizzed past Naumovs. To be fair to the goalie he was well screened by Shanahan. 1-0 to Canada with their first shot on goal. Canada had the puck in the net at 8:30 while on a 5 on 3 but most of the Canadian 5 were in the crease and it was correctly washed out. They did make it 2-0 at 8:49 when wonderkid Sidney Crosby scored. Jason Williams earned his second point of the game with an assist. Canada still on the powerplay and 30 seconds later they hit the post. Its all one way. If Latvia are to compete they must keep 5 men on the ice.

14:40 and another powerplay goal for Canada. And its another youngster in his first year in the NHL that gets the goal. Brad Boyes, third in the rookie stats in the NHL this year behind Ovechkin and Crosby flashed a pass from Jason Williams past the unfortunate Naumovs. 3-0 Canada and that’s enough for Naumovs as he is replaced by 21 year old Raitums.

Patrice Bergeron scored Canada’s fourth goal when Crosby passed across ice to Bergeron, centre ice , and he one timed the puck past Raitums. 4-0 Canada and 4 powerplay goals. The Latvian crowd are not pleased and all sorts flung on the ice in protest at the refereeing. Must say I do not blame them as this is without doubt the fussiest I have seen to date. The teams have now been taken off the ice due to the state of the ice.  Referee has ended the 1st period early and will add the remaining 2 mins at the start of the 2nd.  Back on the ice after a 20 minute delay and the rest of the 1st passes quietly. End of 1st  and its Canada 4 Latvia 0. The Latvians have had 8 minor penalties and lost 4 goals on the resultant powerplays.

25:58 and a fifth goal on the powerplay from Canada. Great work behind the goal by Cammaleri as he passed the puck in front of goal and old boy Brendan Shanahan scored easily. That was it for the scoring in the second period. Yet again a plethora of penalties but no more goals. 5-0 to Canada end of 2nd.

Blitzstart for Canada in the third with 3 goals in 2mins 24 seconds. And only 2 on the powerplay!

Goals on 40:24 by Carter assisted Calder and Schultz, 41:18 Pettinger assisted Daley and Metropolit and Richards from Stuart and Carter at 42:24 made it 8-0 to Canada.

Another penalty at 44:50 to Latvia and again the home fans pelt the ice with items. Referee has sent the team to the dressing rooms again. As the referee left the arena he was pelted by the home fans. Game now suspended for 15 minutes as the zamboni cleans the ice again. One of the Latvian players has made an appeal to the fans to behave.

45:59 and its 9-0. Canada blast across the centre line on a delayed penalty and Calder skates round behind the goal and wraps it into the empty net.
46:33 and another mark for Calder, again on the powerplay as he is all alone left of goal to score. 10-0 to Canada. Latvia have lost all heart for this game. The farce goes on and on another powerplay to Canada and this time Hartnell scores from wide on the left assisted by the pass from Metropolit.  11-0 and that concludes tonights farce.

Canada played well but the referee( an American/German who officiates in the DEL) was absolutely disgraceful, in my honest opinion. The Latvian crowd let themselves down badly with their behaviour and I expect IIHF to act on this.

The second round continues tomorrow with 4 games plus 2 in the relegation round.


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