Russia came out flying high and fast in the game on Saturday, taking down Belarus 7-0 on Saturday to catapult themselves into second in Group B.
With the tournament getting to the point where every game has big importance, today’s matchup between Belarus and Russia was no exception. In a strange twist of fate, Belarus came into the game as the higher ranked team, sitting in second place in Group B with ten points after four games. With Russia sitting with nine points, and the Slovakians nipping at their toes with seven points, the battle for the few spots in the quarter-finals was going to come down to the wire before the cut-off day on Tuesday.
Russia would pot the only goal of the first period on the rush at 9:53. Ilya Kovalchuk is known being a pretty good hockey player, so he decided to showcase it by using his speed to best a few Belarussian defenders before sending a quick shot low blocker side past Kevin LaLande. It was tremendous to see Kovalchuk score without ever looking at the net, showing how good his hand eye coordination actually is.
Belarus would look for a chance to tie it up again late after yet another penalty shot in this tournament. Desperate to stop the Belarus attack, Maxim Chudinov hooked Artyom Demkov down on the breakaway to allow the men in red to get a one-on-zero chance. On the penalty shot, Chudinov looked like he was able to beat Sergei Bobrovsky with the deke, but the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender was able to get his toe in the way to make the key save before the end of the first period.
The Russians would score early in the second. After taking a pass along the right side boards, Vladimir Tarasenko would grab his second goal of the championship, spinning past a defender before sending the puck below LaLande’s blocker again to make it 2-0.
Belarus’ tough night continued as the period progressed. After some terrible defensive coverage on the penalty kill, Belarus allowed Artemiy Panarin to send a pass to Vadim Shipachyov in front of the net all alone, slipping it under LaLande’s pad for the 3-0 goal before the period hit ten minutes. It proved to be the end of LaLande’s night, as, despite having a solid tournament, would leave the net in favour of Igor Brikun. LaLande also looked to be nursing somewhat of a knee injury on the way to the bench, which could have maybe been the reason behind the third Russian goal.
Brikun’s night didn’t start off so well, as after a single shot, the Russians would take the 4-0 lead. Panarin has been one of the biggest stories of the tournament, as the newest Chicago Blackhawk had been showing his great skill in every single contest so far. He’d put it on full display near the end of the second when he roared past two defenseman and sent a quick backhand over Panarin, giving his team the 4-0 lead before beginning the third period.
The Russians put the game away with a trio of goals late. First, Sergei Shirokov scored on a penalty shot after being the recipient of a tap on the hand. Evgeni Dadonov and Evgeni Malkin both scored late in the game to eventually make it 7-0 Russia, while Bobrovsky would get replaced by Anton Khudobin to help split the shutout as Russia easily took down Belarus on Saturday.
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