WJC: Russia 2 Slovakia 1

With a win today, Russia would clinch top spot in the B pool while Slovakia’s loss guaranteed they would finish fourth in the preliminary round.

The Slovaks would fail on three powerplay opportunities, including 39 seconds with a two man advantage near the end of the period. It would be an ongoing theme to this game.

It was the Russians who got on the board first 15:29 into the game. Ivan Provorov would circle the back of the Slovak net and send a pass to Alexander Mikulovich at the point. His wrister was stopped by Slovak goaltender Adam Huska, but he left the rebound in front of his goal. After two of his teammates collided in front of him, he was unable to stop Artur Lauta (the Russians player of the game) who had a couple of wacks at it.

The Slovaks would get an early powerplay 3:04 into the second period, but once again were unable to find the back of the net. At the 9:12 mark, the Russians would extend their lead with an unassisted goal from Yegor Rykov.

After Huska left a rebound in front of him, the Slovak defender tried to clear the puck but it went right to Rykov. The Slovaks gave Rykov plenty of time to set and pick his spot and he did just that.

Just 30 seconds later, the Slovaks would be forced to kill their first penalty of the game. But before that penalty would end, the Russians would be called and the Slovaks would have an abbreviated 24 second powerplay. Neither team could score.

At 14:04 of the period, Slovakia’s Ladislav Romancik would be called for interference. however, 1:43 later Russia’s Andrei Svetlakov would take his own interference penalty and the teams would play 4 on 4.

It took just 3 seconds on the 4 on 4 for the Slovaks to pull within one. Matus Sukel won the faceoff cleanly back to Christian Jaros who wired a slapper to the top corner to beat Russian goaltender Alexander Georgiev.

Another Slovakian powerplay midway through the third proved unable to solve the tournament’s best penalty kill – one that had only allowed one goal coming into today.

Any chance to pull Huska for the extra attacker and try and get the equalizer would be hindered when Slovakian Adrian Sloboda took a tripping penalty with 1:24 remaining.

Russia would outshoot Slovakia 27 – 21 while taking seven minor penalties to Slovakia’s four.

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