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Russia zoning in on victory only against young North America squad at 2016 World Cup

September 19, 19:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian squad yielded to Sweden 1:2 in their opening match on Sunday and the experienced Red Machine seeks nothing but a victory in tonight’s match against the unpredictable Team North America
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©  ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/. The Russian national ice hockey squad is gearing up to go all-or-nothing at its game against the mixed squad of young and speedy NHL players from the US and Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The game scheme of the World Cup of Hockey, held currently in Canada only for the third time since it was inaugurated in 1996, implies an almost-certain elimination scenario after two defeats at the group stage level.

The Russian squad yielded to Sweden 1:2 in their opening match on Sunday and the experienced Red Machine seeks nothing but a victory in tonight’s match against the unpredictable Team North America, who on Sunday also played their first match of the tournament and stunned Europe’s ice hockey heavyweights Finland with 4-1 win.

Eight teams taking part in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were divided in two groups. Group A lists Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic and Team Europe (comprising players from other European countries not taking part in the competition). Group B has Finland, Russia, Sweden and Team North America (consisting of under-23 North American players).

The young Team North America has no plans to relax after their smashing victory over the Finnish squad, so tune in for the match against Russia seriously pointing out the strong offensive style of the Russians.

"They are both different teams," the tournament’s official website Ice.wch2016.com quoted Team North America’s player Auston Matthews as saying after the match with Finland and ahead of the encounter with Russia.

"I think Finland is a little more structured defensively," the 19-year-old central forward from NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs said. "Obviously, Russia has got a lot of firepower up front."

Russia’s NHL veteran Pavel Datsyuk was moderate in his predictions for the upcoming match saying it will be "a big game."

"The tournament is short and every game is a big game, especially after we lost," the official website quoted the titled 38-year-old Russian forward as saying. "But it is not the end of the world. Monday is a big game too."

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey is held in Toronto between September 17 and October 1. Besides the Russia-Team North America match, Monday will also see the game between the Czech Republic and Team Europe.

In other matches held on the opening days of the tournament, reigning Olympic and World Champions Canada crushed the Czech Republic 6-0 and Team Europe shut out Team USA 3-0.

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.

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