Russia’s start to the World Championships couldn’t have been any better as the team managed to take a 6-2 victory over Norway on Friday.
Two goals by Russia 17 seconds apart made Norway look silly right off the bat. With Andreas Martinsen in the box for Norway, the Russians had a lot more room to play around with the puck. That was proven with their extreme passes in the Norweigan zone, with almost every single player touching the puck. Yevgeniy Dadonov sent the puck off to former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk, who’s shot from the point had almost nobody interested in blocking. Vadim Shipachyov, however, would get credit for the goal, tipping in the shot in the crease to make it 1-0.
Just 17 seconds later, Kovalchuk found himself setting up another goal. This time, Kovalchuk made a cross-ice pass to Artem Anismiov, who’s deke on the breakaway proved to be too much for Lars Volden. The goal gave the Russians two goals in the first three minutes, while Norway wasn’t even able to take a shot in the first ten minutes of play.
The Russian dominance was clear throughout the game. Before Norway could even take their second shot, it was 4-0 for the favoured squad. With five minutes remaining in the period, Viktor Tikhonov and Sergei Mozyakin passed the puck a few times before, uncontested, Mozyakin sent a saucer pass to Denis Zaripov, with #87 taking a quick wrist shot over the sprawling Volden to make it 3-0.
Just over a minute later, it was 4-0. It was a similar play that would cause the goal, as some more tick-tack-toe passing resulted in Tikhonov recording his third point of the game thanks to his nice wrister past Volden to end the period.
The story of the game wasn’t who was playing, it was who wasn’t playing. Evgeni Malkin, Nikolai Kulemin and Vladimir Tarasenko all arrived to the tournament earlier today, and with Norway not being too high on Russia’s competition list, they all sat out today’s contest. That left the team with just nine forwards for their opening game, but there was no question that didn’t slow them down at the start of the battle.
If anyone was going to score for Norway, it was going to likely involve the duo of Mathias Olimb and Patrick Thoresen. Of course, that’s exactly what happened. On just their second shot of the game, Olimb made a pass to Thoresen right in the slot, who fired the puck past Bobrovsky for the 4-1 goal.
Norway wasn’t ready to give up, so why not score a second goal? On their very next shot a few minutes later, Olimb would once again find Thoresen in the slot, who took time to make sure his wrist shot would easily glide over Bobrovsky for the 4-2 goal.
Nine minutes into the period, the Russians found a way to restore their three goal lead. Mozyakin has been considered to be one of the most dynamic play-makers in the tournament, never willing to make a mistake just to make a play. His patience would get rewarded once again as his pass off to Maxim Chudinov resulted in a quick wrist-shot goal, giving the Russians the 5-2 advantage.
Russia’s strong presence allowed them to score another goal with six minutes to go. This time, it was SKA St. Petersburg star and recent Chicago Blackhawk signee Artemiy Panarin who would grab his first ever World Championship goal, taking a pass from Zaripov before using his speed to beat the Norwegian defense and squeak it past Volden for the 6-2 goal. It was the final goal of the contest, as the third period proved to feature a lack of scoring as Russia would stick with the 6-2 lead for the final 20 minutes.
Russia will have the day off tomorrow to allow some of their new arrivals to get aqauinted with the team, with their next game set for 6:15am EST on Sunday against Slovenia. Norway will be back in action on Saturday with another tough meeting against USA, who defeated Finland 5-1 on Friday afternoon.
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