MOSCOW, May 14. /TASS/. The Russian national ice hockey squad skated past Slovakia with 4-0 win in their Monday’s group stage match of the 2018 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship, which runs in Denmark on May 4-20.
Five minutes into the opening period the team from Slovakia received a power play opportunity as Russia’s Nikita Tryamkin was handed a two-minute penalty for slashing, but they eventually failed to implement the majority advantage over the Red Machine.
Almost half into the first period Slovakia’s Tomas Jurco was sent to the penalty booth for elbowing, but the Russians also failed to take advantage over their opponents during the two-minute stretch of the power play.
The Red Machine opened the score on the 12th minute into the match with a flawless backslap shot of Maxim Mamin into the left corner of the net past Slovakia’s goalkeeper Marek Ciliak.
Five minutes later Nikita Gusev shouldered a powerful goal against Slovakia to increase his team’s advantage to 2-0, which remained unchanged until the siren signaled the end of the opening 20-minute stretch of the match.
The Slovakian team earned a penalty with less than a minute remaining left in the first period seeing Tomas Jurco going to the penalty booth again for slashing and his teammate Michal Cajkovsky joined him there a bit later for high sticking, giving the Russians an advantage of 5-on-3 play at the dawn of the following period.
The Russians, however, failed to capitalize on their power play at the beginning of the middle period and the net of the Slovakian squad remained unpacked before both teams resumed with their full-strength 5-on-5 format.
Deep into the second period, referees announced a two-minute penalty for Russia’s Nikita Tryamkin for hooking, but their opponents, led by Head Coach Craig Ramsay, did not use this opportunity and the score of 2-0 remained flashing unchanged until the break before the closing period.
The third period went scoreless for most of its time and saw several players on the Russian team sustaining injuries, including Kirill Kaprizov and Maxim Mamin.
The Slovakian head coach opted for an extra player instead of a goaltender with little over a minute remaining in the game and Russia’s Maxim Shalunov put a puck into their open net after a perfect steal from the opponents.
With 15 seconds left in the match, the Russian team managed another steal of the puck from the Slovakian team and Ilya Mikheyev scored another goal to seal the final score at 4-0.
The Russians, who are the reigning Olympic champions, enjoyed confident wins in their three opening group stage matches of this world championship, first beating France 7-0, then defeating team Austria with the same winning score of 7-0 and winning over Belarus 6-0. However, the Red Machine later suffered 3-4 overtime defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic, but then returned snatching 4-3 win over Switzerland.
The Red Machine is currently second in its Group A (shared with France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Switzerland, Slovakia and Sweden) with 16 points and will be playing its next group stage match on May 15 against their long-standing rivals Sweden, who are currently in the top of the group boasting 17 points.
Group B includes the national teams from Finland, the United States, Canada, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Latvia and South Korea.