PYEONGCHANG, February 16. /TASS/. The team of Russian ice hockey players, who are participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang under the neutral status, recovered from their opening game’s defeat on Wednesday with a crushing 8-2 win over Slovenia on Friday.
The opening period was scoreless for the most of the time although the Russian players delivered numerous shots on the Slovenian goal, which was firmly guarded by 24-year-old goalkeeper Luka Gracnar.
With little over two minutes remaining in the period Slovenia’s Jurij Repe was sent to the penalty booth for high sticking and the Russians seized an opportunity on the power play as Sergey Mozyakin opened the score with a powerful shot in the Slovenian net.
Inspired with the goal, half a minute later Russia’s experienced forward Ilya Kovalchuk scored another one for his team upping the score to 2-0 before both teams retreated for a ten-minute break.
The team from Russia increased the advantage to 3-0 six minutes into the middle period after Alexander Barabanov put a puck in the corner of the Slovenian goal from the assist of forward Mikhail Grigorenko.
Three minutes later it was Kovalchuk again to assist from behind the goal his teammate Ilya Kablukov, who scored the goal, but it was not enough for the ‘Red Machine’ and a minute later Kirill Kaprizov fires another puck from the right side of the Slovenian goal extending the winning gap to 5-0.
Slovenia never intended to give up and its forward Jan Mursak spoiled the game’s clean sheet of Russian goalie Vasily Koshechkin scoring a goal late in the middle period. This goal seemed to anger the team of the Olympic Athletes from Russia and Kovalchuk responded with a precise shot scoring his second goal in the game and the sixth for his team.
The so-called Red Machine kept the pressure on the Slovenian squad and 20-year-old Kaprizov scored his second goal in the match at the dawn of the third period.
Although the scoreboard was flashing 7-1 in favor of the Russians with little over 12 minutes left in the game, Kaprizov recorded a hat trick by burning the net of the Slovenian goal with the powerful shot again from the right wing.
However, with just 30 seconds left until the final buzzer, Slovenia’s Ziga Pance scored another goal for his team to leave the final score of the match at 8-2 in favor of the team of Olympic Athletes from Russia.
The ice hockey team from Russia began its journey at the 2018 Olympics with the 2-3 defeat to Slovakia on Wednesday and after today’s solid victory the squad will be preparing for the game on Saturday against Team USA, which earlier in the day beat Slovakia 2-1.
Late last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) over doping abuse allegations but allowed clean Russian athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Games under the Olympic flag and in the neutral status of an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).
The 23rd Winter Olympic Games kicked off in PyeongChang with an official opening ceremony on February 9 and will conclude on February 25.