MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/. The Russian national ice hockey team lost to Sweden 1-2 in their first game of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which kicked off in Canada’s Toronto on Saturday.
The Red Machine was down 0-2 against Sweden until the closing 60 seconds of the match, when Russia’s famous forward from NHL’s Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin scored a goal and less than 20 seconds later scored another one. The referees decided to cancel the last goal of the match.
Sweden was more active in the Russian goal area in the opening minutes and the teams also had the chance of playing in majority on the power-plays, but the first period remained scoreless, as they retreated to their locker rooms.
The Tre Kronor team unsealed the score on the 11th minute in the middle period with their left wing Gabriel Landeskog shooting the puck past Russian goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky to take the lead of 1-0 over the Red Machine.
Inspired with the first goal, defenseman Victor Hedman some two minutes later back-slapped another puck past Bobrovsky to increase the Swedish team’s advantage over the Russians. The score of 2-0 remained unchanged until the third period.
With less a minute remaining in the closing period, Russia’s Head Coach Oleg Znarok decided in favor of the sixth field player leaving the empty net and team’s captain Alexander Ovechkin cannoned a goal against the Swedes to bring the score to 1-2.
It was Ovechkin again with only 11 seconds before the final buzzer to bring another puck into the Swedish net and to tie the game. However, the referees of the match ruled after some debates and watching video replays that the puck hit the net bouncing off Ovechkin’s glove without touching his stick. Much to the dismay of the Russian fans at the stands of the stadium in Toronto and Ovechkin’s obvious displeasure, the referees decided to cancel the last goal and the final buzzer sealed the score at 1-2 in favor of the Swedish team.
The Russian squad is now scheduled to face Team North America on Monday and will then clash with Finland on September 22.
Sweden meets Finland on September 20 and then plays against team North America on September 21.
In two matches played on the opening day of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, reigning Olympic and World Champions Canada wiped out the team from the Czech Republic with impressive 6-0 victory, while team Europe rammed past the Team USA with comfortable 3-0 win.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey is held in Canada’s Toronto between September 17 and October 1.
Eight teams taking part in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were divided in two groups. Group A enlists Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic and Team Europe (comprising players from other European countries not taking part in the competition). Group B enlists Finland, Russia, Sweden and Team North America (consisting of under-23 North American players).
2016 World Cup of Hockey
The World Cup of Hockey is an international successor of the previously famous Canada Cup (held between 1976 and 1991). After the international event was inaugurated in 1996 it was staged only once again in 2004.
The World Cup of Hockey was organized by the NHL and therefore it was played according to the league’s rules unlike annual Ice Hockey World Championships and quadrennial Winter Olympic hockey tournaments, which are sanctioned by the IIHF and are played to different rules.
The matches of the World Cup of Hockey are played outside the NHL regular season allowing best players of the league to compete in the international event unlike the annual World Championships, which usually overlap with NHL’s playoffs.
The previous Canada Cup, which ran between 1976 and 1991 was held five times with four of them won by Canada and one by the Soviet Union team in 1981. The inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 was won by the United States and the next one in 2004 by Canada.