MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. The Canadian ice hockey team aimed for the victory in the world title game against Russia on Sunday night, but never expected such a crushing 6-1 defeat over the reigning champions, Sidney Crosby, the captain of the Canadian squad, said after the game.
"I don’t think you come into a game like this thinking you’re going to win 6-1," the official championship’s website quoted Crosby as saying. "They are a dangerous team that even with a two or three goal lead you really can’t sit back. It was good to get a big lead there and the inside of five minutes we started to enjoy it more because we knew it was getting closer. It is not always that way."
The 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champions Canada were indeed hungry for the world champion’s title, which they last held in 2007, and barraged into the final match against the reigning world champions Russia in a crushing winning spree boasting a record of 60-15 (goals scored and goals missed).
The final match at the O2 Arena in Prague between the long-time rivals Canada and Russia opened with a very emotionally tight period as both teams tested each other on the level of skills and nerves.
The Canadians, however, were more active in Russia’s zone and it eventually earned them 1-0 advantage over the reigning world champs as Cody Eakin put the puck into the net behind Russian goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky with less than two minutes remaining in the opening period.
It was the middle period, when the Canadians increased their advantage to 4-0 by scoring three more goals as they peppered Bobrovsky with shots, while the Russians attempted only one shot at Canadian goalkeeper Mike Smith throughout the period’s 20 minutes.
Assisted by Cody Eakin, Canada’s forward Tyler Ennis cannoned the puck into the Russian net less than two minutes into the second period. Five minutes later Crosby scored another goal against the Red Machine and almost 50 seconds later Tyler Seguin’s fired puck found its way once again past Bobrovsky.
"In the second period we threw the game away," the championship’s official website quoted Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin as saying. "We only had one shot. Of course they played really well today, it's obvious that they're a good experienced team and they showed it today."As the teams resumed the game in the third period, it was Crosby in the right place again to assist Claude Giroux, who scored the fifth goal for the Maple Leafs on the 49th minute of the match. Less than a minute later, his teammate Nathan Mackinnon cemented the lead over the Russians notching up the score to 6-0.
Canada’s defense in the knock-out stage of this championship was spotless as the team never missed a goal creaming Belarus 9-0 in the quarterfinals and hosts Czech Republic 2-0 in the semifinals. The Russian team, however, blocked the Canadian’s shootout streak scoring a goal with seven minutes remaining in the match after forward Sergei Mozyakin fired a wrist shot and his puck ricocheted from Yevgeny Malkin’s skate between Smith’s knee-pads into the net.
On the whole, the Canadians weighty 6-1 win is also proved by the statistics, which shows that the reigning Olympic champions outshot the Russian squad in the final match by the whopping 37-12 margin.
Russian squad’s Head Coach Oleg Znarok, who led the team to the world championship’s title last year in Belarus, praised his team’s game during the final match in Prague saying the players kept fighting team Canada until the very last minute.
"We had chances to be the first to score and then get hold of the score," Znarok said after the match. "In that case the game could have developed in line with a different scenario. Perhaps, we were a bit unlucky. But the boys did their outmost and we fought until the very last minute."
Znarok said the defense line in the Russian team was very young at this championship and the players gained valuable experience.
"We have a very young defense," he said. "We played six defensemen and five of them were born in 1990s. The boys gained precious experience, but there were many injuries as well."
The final match of the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, which set the new attendance world record of over 741,600 spectators, was marred, however, by the Russian team’s walkout from the ice before the Canadian anthem was played in honor of the new world champions.
Before Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), took the final words to declare the winners, to thank hosts Czech Republic and announce the closing of the championship, most of the Russian players retreated to their locker rooms with only at least six of them staying on the ice.
In an interview with TASS the IIHF president said the Russian team left the pitch before the national anthem of the winners was played and thus showed complete disrespect to their opponent.
Fasel said he was deeply disappointed, when he witnessed the incident, and it was the first one of such nature over 29 years of ice hockey world championship games he attended.
He said it was totally unacceptable what the Russian team did as there could be fights and major brawls on the ice during the matches but never the disrespect of the opponent in the past-game time.
Among the Russian players, who remained on the ice and did not walk away were Alexander Ovechkin, Yevgeny Malkin, Viktor Tikhonov and Dmitry Kulikov.
As the Russian ice hockey team arrived at the Moscow Vnukovo airport on Monday morning there were no fans greeting them apart from journalists.
Leaving aside the walkout of the Russian team, Fasel was satisfied with this year’s championship, held in the Czech cities of Ostrava and Prague between May 1 and 17.
Making a statement after the final encounter between Russia and Canada, Fasel thanked the hosts in the Czech language for the outstanding organization of the tournament, then declared in English language Canada as the new world’s champion and afterwards thanked in Russian language the Russian supporters at the championship.
"I would like to thank all the volunteers, all the media, and especially you, great hockey fans - 741,690 world record [of attendance]. You are one world champion, thank you very much," Fasel said speaking after the final match.
"On behalf of the International Ice Hockey Federation I declare the 2015 World Championship in Ostrava and Prague closed. See you in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Thank you," Fasel concluded.
The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship will be held in Russia’s capital of Moscow and in the country’s second largest city of St. Petersburg between May 6 and 22.