The junior Russian national team played their 2016 IIHF World Championship quarter-final against Denmark today. No changes were made by head coach Valery Bragin, with Alexander Georgiev in net and SKA’s Egor Rykov and Alexander Dergachyov in the line-up.
Russia were heavy favourites moving into this game, and they put their stamp on the match early on. The puck got stuck behind Denmark’s net following Egor Rykov's dump in, Egor Korshkov sharply twisted to the right post, and he managed to squeeze his wraparound past the goaltender. That was the perfect start for Russia, and that marker allowed our team to calmly control the game. Denmark were being pinned inside their own zone, and their goaltender made an alert body save to stop Evgeny Svechnikov’s wrister from close range. Despite that domination the tempo wasn’t particularly high, and on the counterattack Denmark almost made Russia pay. Mathias From burst through the Russian defence, but one on one he was denied by Alexander Georgiev.
Our team seemed relaxed coming into the second frame, and they were in for a cold shower. Out of the blue Denmark started to boss the game, and scored two quickfire goals to take a shock lead. Markus Jensen gathered up a loose puck on the slot to level matters, and then Thomas Olsen buried a juicy rebound to the right of the crease. The Russians were shell-shocked, and it took them a while to get back on their game. Chances did come at Denmark’s net, but Kirill Kaprizov and Vladislav Kamenev passed up golden opportunities at point blank range.
The Russians were up against it, and in the third period they laid complete siege to Denmark’s net. Fantastic opportunities were coming and going at a rate of knots, and try as they might our players simply could not get the better of Denmark’s inspired Thomas Lillie. Shots from every possible angle were being taken, and overall Russia fired in an astonishing 20 shots on target in that period alone. Such crazy pressing eventually got its just rewards: Alexander Dergachyov brilliantly twisted to the slot, fed Artur Lauta, and the latter finally drew Russia level. That looked to have made things easier, but Denmark had one more trick up their sleeve. In the Danes' first attack of the period with four minutes to go Russia turned the puck over, Emil Christiensen took on a backhander, and from a tight angle he beat Alexander Georgiev. The Russians were stunned, however there was still time for another late twist. With the goaltender pulled for the extra skater Vladislav Kamenev got to a rebound on the left faceoff circle, and blasted the puck through the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 3:3 with 44 seconds to go.
The drama was unbearable, but exactly five minutes into overtime Russia made their dominance count once and for all. Ivan Provorov picked out the open Vladislav Kamenev on the doorstep, and the captain sent Russia into the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship semi-finals!
Russia – Denmark – 4:3 OT (1:0, 0:2, 2:1 – 1:0)
1:0 Korshkov (Kraskovsky, Rykov), 02.49
1:1 Jensen (Holmberg, Olsen), 22.37
1:2 Olsen (Jensen, Nielsen), 29.20
2:2 Lauta (Dergachyov, Fazleev), 52.31
2:3 Christiensen (Krogsgaard), 54.36
3:3 Kamenev (Lauta, Provorov), 59.16
4:3 Kamenev (Provorov, Svetlakov), 65.00
Goalkeepers: Georgiev – Lillie
Shots on target: 46 – 21
Penalty minutes: 14 – 2
02.01.2016. Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland.