International Ice Hockey Federation

Russia gains momentum

Russia gains momentum

Large crowd watches Swiss lose tough game, 7-0

Published 28.12.2014 20:35 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Russia gains momentum
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 28: Russia's Sergei Tolchinski #28 celebrates after a second period goal against Switzerland during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Russia regrouped after a day off to consider the team’s close win over Denmark and came out flying, defeating Switzerland 7-0 in a game that was often chippy.

Igor Shestyorkin stopped all 32 shots for his first career shutout at the U20, many of which were tough saves and earned him player of the game honours and warm applause from the boisterous crowd of 15,125, the largest so far at these World Junior Championships.

But it was Russia's speed and skill that caused nightmares for the Swiss defence, which was caught flatfooted time and again. Russia got goals from seven different players, and Pavel Buchnevich led the attack with a goal and two assists.

"It was a pretty tough game for us," said Russian forward Ivan Barbashyov. "In the first period, we played really well. In the second period, we let up and took too many penalties, but we did a good job on penalty killing. In the third, we played like in the first."

The first period featured superior speed and puckhandling from the Russians, but the Swiss had their chances to score. All the same, it was a power play midway through the period that produced the first goal. Rushan Rafikov drilled a shot from the point that narrowly missed a teammate, but it found the far side past a screened Gauthier Descloux at 11:28.

Most of the opening 20 minutes was played in the Swiss end, but it appeared the Swiss would get out of it down only a goal. Wrong.

Alexander Dergachyov took advantage of a loose puck inside the Swiss blue line after an ill-advised pass from Kevin Fiala produced a turnover, and Dergachyov drilled a sharp shot past Descloux for a 2-0 lead at 18:26.

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The Swiss relaxed, thinking the flurry was over, but the Russians had one more goal left. This was scored with only 22.4 seconds left and put the Swiss in a deep hole. It came off a nice toe drag by Pavel Buchnevich who beat Descloux again while falling to the ice.

If the Swiss were going to get back into the game, they were given ample opportunity in the second period. First, they had two early power plays which they squandered. Then, midway though, Anatoli Golyshev drilled Phil Baltisberger from behind. The blindside hit resulted in a major penalty and game misconduct, which will further result in at least a one-game suspension for Golyshev as well as a hearing with the tournament Disciplinary Committee.

Baltisberger was carried off on a stretcher, but his teammates couldn’t produce a goal on the lengthy power play. Late in the period with another man advantage, Fiala took a senseless penalty for a hit to the head, cancelling the power play and taking the team’s best player off ice for the next 12 minutes.

"He's alright," captain Yannick Rathgeb said of Baltisberger's condition after the game. "He can move his legs and feel everything. He just couldn't get up at the time; his neck really hurt. They took him off just to make sure."

Baltisberger set a record yesterday as soon as he stepped on the ice, becoming only the ninth player to appear in four World Junior Championships.

The Russians then struck for two goals. After a turnover by Edson Harlacher, a great three-way passing play ended with Tolchinski firing a quick shot in for a 4-0 lead at 15:29. And then for good measure Alexander Sharov made it 5-0 two minutes later on a wrist shot Descloux should have stopped.

Backup goalie Ludovic Waeber started the third and gave up a flukey goal at 14:59 when Timo Meier couldn't control a puck behind his goal and Vladislav Kamenev's shot bounced off the goalie and in.

Just 42 seconds later Leshenko made it 7-0 after another nice passing play.

"We weren't ready two days ago," Barbashyov admitted, "but we were ready today."

Russia is back at it tomorrow, playing Sweden, while the Swiss get a day off before playing Denmark on Tuesday.


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