In Paris, the senior Russian national team played the Czech Republic in the 2017 IIHF World Championship quarter-finals. Head coach Oleg Znarok made a couple of changes to the roster, bringing Valery Nichushkin up to the first line in place of SKA forward Sergei Plotnikov. Andrei Vasilevskiy and Pavel Francouz were the starting goaltenders.
The Czech Republic came flying out of the blocks, putting on the pressure in the opening shifts. Jakub Voracek tipped inches wide, before David Pastrnak lashed wide with the goal practically at his mercy. Russia were struggling, but midway through the period, a Czech penalty gifted our players a chance to get something going. To our delight, they took full advantage of that opportunity. Dmitry Orlov grabbed his first goal of the tournament, whacking a fearsome wrist shot under Pavel Francouz's glove. That goal came a few seconds after the Czechs came to full strength, but Russia did score a powerplay marker five minutes later. Nikita Kucherov scored it, thumping a powerful shot into the far left corner after Evgeny Kuznetsov found him with a brilliant pass.
Our players had the Czechs exactly where they wanted them. Russia opted to sit back in defence in the second stanza, letting the Czechs have the majority of possession without getting close to the net. Andrei Vasilevskiy made big saves when called upon, while Russia threatened on the counterattack. Artemiy Panarin came closest to a third, as his unstoppable wrist shot rattled off the pipe.
Despite requiring goals, the Czech Republic failed to trouble Russia in the third period. On the other hand, the Russians were hungry for more goals, frequently testing the Czech netminder. Eventually, during the closing stages, Artemiy Panarin got his deserved goal. Speeding on to the crease, Artemiy received the puck and confidently knocked it beyond the flailing Pavel Francouz. Andrei Vasilevskiy saw the game out for his third World Championship shutout, sealing a 3:0 Russian triumph! Russia will play either Canada or Germany in the semi-finals.
Russia - Czech Republic - 3:0 (2:0, 0:0, 1:0)
1:0 Orlov (Plotnikov, Antipin), 08.45
2:0 Kucherov (Kuznetsov, Antipin), 13.36
3:0 Panarin (Kucherov, Kuznetsov), 53.55
Goalkeepers: Vasilevskiy - Francouz
Shots on target: 26 - 27
Penalty minutes: 10 - 6
18.05.2017. Paris, France.