World Championships Quarter Finals Day 2

Friday, 19th May 2006


This should be an absolute cracker. The Russians are full of offence with Ovechkin, Malkin, Semin and Mikhnov. Czech Republic have Balastik, Erat and Vyborny. Hnilicka in the Czech goal has been steady but Sokolov, the Russian veteran looked dodgy in the last game but will still get the start today.  Could go either way this one.

Russia were first to show in the game and looked the better team. 2:30 gone and the favourites were 1-0 up. Malkin fed Ovechkin who was all alone in the face off circle and he fired a beaut of a one timer past Mezin.
Sokolov made a good save on 8:28 when he got a glove on a Plekanec shot. Russia should have gone 2 up soon after when shorthanded, they forced a turnover and Yemeleyev broke away but shot wide. Russia then had a 5 on 3 and Ovechkin hit one into the side netting. Another fine save by Sokolov from Krajicek kept the score 1-0 to Russia at the first interval.

Czech Republic found their A game in the second and at 5:45 Kaberle equalised on the powerplay. He drove in from the blueline and fired a pass from Vyborny past Sokolov for 1-1. This period was superb end to end hockey with chances for Ovechkin and Malkin and Hejda and Erat, but the goalies stood tall. A Czech 5 on 3 nearly brought disaster for them as Malkin stole the puck from Michalek and broke away to skate in on Hnilicka but lost control at the vital moment. Russia pinned the Czechs down for long periods in the latter stages of the period and a final chance from Malkin went just over the crossbar. End of 2nd and its 1-1.

The Czechs took the lead on 43:49 as Hlinka jumped into the faceoff circle on the right and hit a high shot that Sokolov made a hash of, allowing the puck to glance off the top of his glove into the net. 45:10 and it was all square again when Mozyakin one timed the puck from the faceoff and the puck trickled through Hnilicka’s five hole. 47:06 and the Czechs were in front again. Hlinka backhanded the puck from the goal line into the slot and Stefan hit one past Sokolov. The unfortunate goalie, who had had a brilliant 2 periods was a forlorn figure as he sat on the ice contemplating a shot he should have saved. The Czechs then pulled back to the blue line and tried to crowd out the Russians. It almost worked but with only 1:16 to go and Sokolov off for the extra skater, Russia equalised. Atyushov shot after winning a face off and as it rebounded off
Hnilicka to Mikhnov who scored. 3-3 at the end of the period and its OT. The period only had 12 shots of which 4 were goals.

4 on 4 overtime and both teams used quality possession to make chances at either end. After 5 mins Sushinsky dropped a pass to Zaripov who came close. Ovechkin had a great chance seconds later as he deked round the d man and cut towards the net, pushing the puck under Hnilicka who just managed to sit on the puck. Arkhipov then got very close to tipping a Nikulin shot from the point but agonisingly missed by inches. Irgl then totally missed the goal when through but he made amends on 7:58 of OT. Vyborny won a face off and fed Irgl near the crease. Irgl drew the goalie and as Sokolov was floundering tucked a backhand inside the post. Another one Sokolov would like back.  That was it and the champions move to the semi finals and the Russians head home disappointed. Cant wait to see Semin and Malkin in the NHL next season.


Finland are odds on favourites for this one but the loss of top goalie Nyttimaki will be a blow. Norenna will need to step up to the plate for the rest of the tournament. This team likes to shoot and the Belarus goalie, Mezin, will have to continue his brilliant form. The Belarus team are not to be take lightly though and are capable of providing a shock with Skabelka and Grabovsky scoring highly in the competition.

An even start to the game with Finland having the better chances. Finland took the lead on 9:24. Ruutu found Bergenheim behind the goal and he checked, fooling the defender and layed the puck on the tape of Riku Hahl , all alone in front of the crease and he one timed a crisp shot past Mezin. Belarus came more into the game towards the end of the period and on 17:02 Skabelka brought out a brilliant save from Norrena. The period ended with Belarus on the powerplay for the third time but they only managed 1 shot on goal. End of the 1st  Finland 1 Belarus 0.

Half way through the 2nd period and absolutely nothing to report. No chances of note and very little offence by Belarus. Finland are not expending themselves and Belarus do not look able to find a way past the Finnish defence. On 33:25, Belarus survived a 3 on 4 and a brief 3 on 5 as Finland swarmed round the Belarus zone. End of 2nd and still 1-0 to Finland, definitely not the excitement of the afternoon game.

43:58 gone and Finland get the goal that should take them to the semis. Nummelin found Peltonen all on his own to the left of Mezin’s goal and he one timed the puck high into the net. 2-0 Finland. Midway through the period Hentunen thought he had put Finlandfurther ahead but the video replay showed the puck had pinged off the crossbar. The did make it 3-0 on 54:48 as Oli Jokinen tipped a Nummelin drive from centre point. Belarus had a last throw of the dice on 57:19 when they pulled Mezin for the extra attacker but Finland never looked in any trouble. A 14 shot shut out for Norrena as Finland eased themselves into the semis and a meeting with the champions Czech Republic.

Rest day tomorrow and then the semi Finals on Saturday  when Canada play Sweden and Finland take on champions the Czech Republic.


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