In Moscow, the senior Russian national team took on Sweden in the opening 2017 Channel One Cup fixture. Head coach Oleg Znarok put SKA Saint Petersburg trio Ilya Kovalchuk, Vadim Shipachyov and Sergei Kalinin in the first line together, while Vasily Koshechkin took his place between the sticks. Viktor Fasth was Sweden’s starting goaltender.
Our players made a positive start in the Russian capital, immediately taking the initiative. However, against the run of play, Sweden struck first blood. Following a faceoff draw, the puck fell to Fredrik Pettersson who ripped an instant attempt into the net. Nevertheless, Russia had a response. Just three minutes later, SKA's Sergei Kalinin caught Viktor Fasth cold with a rising wrist shot from the right flank. Sergei Andronov could have given Russia a late first period lead, but he failed to score at point blank range.
The Swedes increased the intensity of their play in the second stanza. Vasily Koshechkin was a busy netminder, notably pulling off a superb acrobatic stop to deny Patrik Hersley’s one timer. However, as time wore on, our players started putting the pressure on. The pressing eventually resulted in a goal. Vyacheslav Voynov wound up for a powerful slap shot, and Sergei Kalinin deftly tipped in. 2:1 in Russia’s favour after forty minutes.
Russia started the crucial third frame on the powerplay, something which the team didn’t let go to waste. Nikita Gusev was gifted a penalty shot after a Swedish player intentionally pushed the net off its moorings, and Russia’s number 97 brilliantly took advantage of the chance. The Swedes threw everything at the Russians during the final stages, but our players calmly held on to claim a thrilling 3:1 victory!
Sweden – Russia – 1:3 (1:1, 0:1, 0:1)
1:0 Pettersson (Lundqvist), 09.24
1:1 Kalinin (Voynov, Shipachyov), 12.52
1:2 Kalinin (Shalunov, Voynov), 34.14
1:3 Gusev, 41.56
Goalkeepers: Fasth – Koshechkin
Shots on target: 23 – 34
Faceoffs: 23 – 25
Penalty minutes: 6 – 10
Referees: Rantala, Salonen
14.12.2017. Legends Park, Moscow.