Russia (2-0-0-2) @ Switzerland (3-0-0-1)
Throw the group stage out the window, the real World Junior Championship tournament starts today with the quarterfinals. Russia finished a very tough Group B with 2 wins and 2 losses. It was really a roller coaster group for the Russians who started it with a loss to the host Czech Republic. The next game? They handed Canada the biggest loss ever in their tournament history. Russia ended the tournament with a split against the Americans and the Germans and find themselves with the third seed in Group B. Russia will play the Swiss in the quarterfinals after Switzerland finished Group A with the second seed behind Sweden. Yaroslav Askarov, the 17-year old netminder for Russia will get the start against Switzerland.
Russia most recently beat Switzerland last year in the bronze medal game, via a score of 5-2.
Askarov makes the first big play of the game, 7 minutes into the first period. He coughs up a rebound to the slot, slides over and absolutely robs Berni on what looked like a wide-open net.
Nice save by Yaroslav Askarov early in the first period between Russia and Switzerland. #WorldJuniors #WJC2020 https://t.co/6cSoMvhkt8
Both teams would get powerplay opportunities in the middle of the frame. However, both goalies and penalty kills would stand tall. Clearly Switzerland doesn’t seem outmatched in this one despite being the underdogs. Switzerland plays tenacious hockey, consistently pressuring the defense up-high with the forwards and getting into shooting lanes. Switzerland looked like they had 20+ shot blocks in the first period. Russia would outshoot the Swiss 10-3 in the first period, despite the game looking very even in the neutral zone.
Long change in the second period, causing issues at the Swiss bench as they would take a too many men penalty 38 seconds into the second period. Russia would make them pay on this one. Dmitri Voronkov would get his second of the tournament on the doorstep, giving the Russians a 1-0 lead early in the second period.
Dmitri Voronkov scores on the power-play to give 🇷🇺 the first lead of the game! https://t.co/cZ2CbJxHEj
Russia ices the puck 7 minutes into the second period, leading to a faceoff in their own end. They would win the draw, however, the puck would bounce out in front of the net before Gaetan Jobin would knock the rebound home, tying the game and getting the Swiss on the board.
Gaetan Jobin 🇨🇭 with the equalizer right off the draw! https://t.co/K8jcKwcjCC
Just as it looked like Switzerland was gaining momentum, the Russians snuff it out. Thanks to an absolutely beautiful pass on a 2-on-1 from Denisenko, Khovanov would tap it past Hollenstein and give the Russians a 2-1 lead.
Alexander Khovanov scores on a perfect feed from Grigori Denisenko and Russia retakes the lead! https://t.co/8WdscFw2fF
If you play with fire too many times, you will eventually get burned. Switzerland takes back-to-back penalties basically giving the Russians the remainder of the second on the powerplay. Russia would capitalize on the second one with 1:45 left in the second period. Voronkov gets his second of the game and third of the tournament. Russia would take that 3-1 lead into the third period.
While the Russians got back-to-back powerplays in the second and capitalized. The Swiss couldn’t do the same, given two powerplays in the first half of the third period. Switzerland generated some chances but ultimately couldn’t get one past Askarov.
Switzerland would pull the goalie with 3:11 left, down by two and try to get back into this game. Tim Berni would basically be forced to take an interference penalty with 1:46 left in the game, virtually icing the game in favor of the Russians.
Russia controlled the game from start to finish, heavily outshooting the Swiss and dominating in time on attack. They will wait to see who they will play in the semi-finals. Mind you, this year they will be reseeding after the quarterfinals. Therefore they have no idea who they will be playing, in past years it was a set bracket. Barring any upsets, Russia as the 6th seed will meet 1st seeded Sweden in the semi-finals.
Askarov simply dominated this game, proving why he’s such a touted prospect and will more than likely be ridden by the Russians the rest of the tournament.
Powerplay and Shots
2/7 PP0/5 PP
35 shots15 shots
Players of the Game
(They didn’t show the players of the game on the broad, these are picked by me)
– Grigori Denisenko
– Luca Hollenstein
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Photo Credit: Russiahockey/Twitter