COLOGNE /Germany/, May 13. /TASS/. Ice quality at the Lanxess Arena in the German city of Cologne, the venue of the 2017 IIHF World Championship, does not meet the standards for a world-level event, Russian Coach Oleg Znarok told reporters on Saturday.
On Saturday, Russia won a landslide victory over Slovakia 6-0 in a preliminary round at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The first break in the match was dragged out due to problems with ice. On May 10, Slovakia and host Germany faced the same problem.
"It was not the first time with the ice. Its quality fails a bit to meet the requirements of a world tournament," he said. "But I do not think that pause knocked us sideways."
In spite of the win, the coach was not satisfied with the players.
"We could have played far better," he said. "About the defense, I might be pleased, but there are moments we need to improve as the following matches will be more difficult. So we need to play well and be more disciplined in defense."
On Monday night, Russia will face Latvia.
Russia is again on top of the Group A rankings, with 14 points. Therefore, the squad headed by Coach Oleg Znarok has gone through to the semifinals. Slovakia is ranked seventh, with 4 points.
The 2017 IIHF tournament is held in Germany’s Cologne at its 18,500-seat Lanxess Arena and in the French capital at the Bercy 14,500-seat venue from May 5 through May 21, 2017.
Cologne is hosting 34 games, including Group A, two quarter-finals and all semi-final and medal games. Paris is hosting 30 games, including all games of Group B and two quarter-final games.
Group A in Cologne includes last year’s IIHF championship host and bronze medalist Russia, which was ranked second in the 2016 IIHF Men’s World Ranking, as well as Team USA, Sweden, Slovakia, Germany, Latvia, Denmark and Italy.
Defending champion Canada is playing in Group B in Paris, where they had been squared off against last year’s silver-medal winners Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway, France and Slovenia.