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Author: Alessandro Seren RossoDate: 12/27/2009
WJC kicks off, Russia gets the first win

2010 U20 World Junior Championships
SASKATOON - It wasn't Russia's best possible display, but nevertheless the first win arrived. Plyuschev's team concentrated most of its performance in the first period as they scored four goals, just to control the pace of the game in the remaining two periods, finished with one goal each. Goalkeeper Igor Bobkov (Anaheim Ducks) hasn't had too much work, he ended the game with fourteen saves.

Team Russia's lines looked like that:

Filatov-Burmistrov-Tarasenko; Trunev-Khokhryakov-Petrov; Kulemin-Timkin-Kuznetsov; Gimbatov-Telegin-Dadunov; Kitsin; Zaitsev-Orlov; Pivtsakin-Chudinov; Klementyev-Kostromitin; Tarasov; Bobkov; Sadikov.

Russia's start was a quick one. Russia set a high tempo to the game and Austria couldn't initially match the speed of quicker red-jersey forwards. As a result after less than two minutes Petr Khokhryakov outskated a defenseman on the right side, stopped on the circle and shot, Maxim Trunev (Montreal Canadiens) intervened with his stick and with a smart deflection tricked out the Austrian goalie for the 1-0 lead. Everyone on the stands was expecting a quick second goal from the Russians when defenseman Stefan Ulmer was sent to the penalty box, but the powerplay organization left much to be desired (it will for the whole game), but did produce a couple of chance wasted by Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets), which during one of them hit the post with the open net.

With the teams back on even strength team Russia pushed the gas. At the sixth Evgeny Timkin once again outskated a couple of defensemen, but lost the puck near the crease. Two minutes later Alexander Burmistrov gets on a three-on-one in the offensive zone, but he shot the puck instead of giving an easy pass to the left, letting the goalie stop his attempt.

Midway through the first period Austria reversed the momentum: at first they forced Igor Bobkov (Anaheim Ducks) to some extra work, then at the eleventh they got on a powerplay after an interference by Timkin and tied it up: team Russia's bad defensive game left too much space in front of Bobkov, who could stop the first shot, but couldn't save the second by the young Konstantin Komarek.

Plyuschev's team reaction was quick. One minute after Austria's tying goal Untergaschnigg got to the sin bin for high sticking and after some slow, unproductive play Maxim Chudinov found the right moment to beat the goalkeeper with a cannon-like shot from the blue line after a pass by Nikita Pivtsakin. Good job in that occasion by Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders) along the boards, who got the second assist.

Team Austria couldn't reverse the moment like they did earlier and they suffered from the opposition's pressure and they allowed further two goals in the period: at the eighteenth minute once again they got burn by Russia's faster skating as Timkin on the neutral zone served Evgeny Kuznetsov, who skated towards the goalie, worked the puck from the forehand to the backhand and put it top shelf with a smooth touch for a very nice goal.

In the period's last minute team Austria was caught with a wrong shift, giving another powerplay to the Russians. The WJC newcomers couldn't resist more than thirty seconds: after they managed to clear the zone Dmitri Orlov (Washington Capitals) fed on the right Vladimir Tarasenko, who put the puck between Stefan Ulmer's legs and put the puck past the goalie for a highlight reel goal. The first period thus ended with Russia up by three goals.

After only three seconds Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) has been sent to the penalty box after a tripping call, but the Austrians couldn't get any advantage. After six minutes from the period start, Russia made it 5-1. Nikita Zaitsev picked up the puck back in the own zone, serving Kuznetsov deep in the third. The Traktor player skated through the neutral zone, exchanged the puck with Vyacheslav Kulemin and from the left side released a quick wrist shot which really surprised the opponent goalie who couldn't stop the puck from finishing into the top right corner.

One minute later Ivan Telegin got a penalty himself, but this didn't stop Russia to get a great scoring chance with Burmistrov, after another good play by Tarasenko. Austria though didn't stop believing and midway through the match Chudinov shot right against a defenseman's legs, indirectly launching a counterattack finalized by Hartl with a nice move.

The rest of the second period wasn't that interesting. Team Russia controlled the flow of the match without giving room to the opposition, with Plyuschev's team producing only a couple of chances, first again with Kuznetsov, then with a good rush by Dmitry Kostromitin.

The third period followed the same path of the end of the second. The red jerseys were all over the ice without giving too much effort, while the opposition couldn't break in the offense because of the lesser speed of their forwards. In the first minutes Evgeny Kuznetsov - the best player on ice today - once again did a great job and got two penalties from the opposition, but team Russia couldn't convert them into a goal. After a good chance for Tarasenko after the first good play of the night by Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) the match was virtually finished and the refs started whistling many penalties, keeping on stopping the play. At the eleventh minute it was Burmistrov's turn to sit into the penalty box, but when Chudinov cleared the zone, the puck was picked up by Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders), who got in front of the goalie with a couple of strides and beat him with a low shot.

With team Russia up by four goal the game had nothing more to show. Vladimir Tarasenko draw a penalty getting slashed by Kristler, then Burmistrov had a golden chance for the 7-2, but wasted it, being not able to put the puck past the goalie.

It wasn't the best display for team Russia, but the first win arrived and the performances will surely improve with the time. Next match will be tomorrow against team Slovakia.

Player of the game: Evgeny Kuznetsov
Scored two goals and had many good moments throughout the whole game. Displayed a great technique, excellent skating and an always dangerous shot. He might well be the surprise of the tournament.

Russia - Austria 6-2 (4-1; 1-1; 1-0)
01:58 1-0 Maxim Trunev (Montreal Canadiens) ( Petr Khokhryakov, Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders))
11:38 1-1 Komarek (Wolf, Scholz) PP
14:32 2-1 Maxim Chudinov (Kirill Petrov, Nikita Pivtsakin) PP
18:26 3-1 Evgeny Kuznetsov ( Dmitri Orlov (Washington Capitals), Evgeny Timkin)
19:54 4-1 Vladimir Tarasenko (Dmitri Orlov) PP
26:20 5-1 Evgeny Kuznetsov ( Vyacheslav Kulemin)
30:50 5-2 Hartl (Maier)
52:00 6-2 Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders) (Maxim Chudinov) SH

Scouting notes

Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets): the most awaited player did really nothing special and was hardly noticeable during the play. He had a couple of good moments, definitely not enough for a player of his caliber.

Maxim Trunev (Montreal Canadiens): played a very good match. He scored the first goal, had many good rushes and a lot of dekes. And he's in great shape.

Maxim Kitsyn: had a minor role. He had a nice shot after a couple of minutes, but then he disappeared from the game.

Petr Khokhryakov: an underrated player who had a very good game in the team's second line. He showed more than everything great skating abilities with an excellent speed and acceleration, joined with a good passing play. We'll hear his name in the future.

Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders): like Filatov, he showed not enough for a player of his caliber, but unlike the captain he did score a nice goal.

Dmitri Orlov (Washington Capitals): excellent match, two assists and a good presence throughout the whole game.

Igor Bobkov (Anaheim Ducks): made many routine saves, not responsible in any of the two allowed goals.

Related Player Profiles: . I.Bobkov A.Burmistrov M.Chudinov N.Filatov P.Khokhryakov M.Kitsyn V.Kulemin E.Kuznetsov D.Orlov K.Petrov N.Pivtsakin V.Tarasenko I.Telegin E.Timkin M.Trunev N.Zaitsev
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