Russia (1-1-0-0) @ United States (1-1-0-0)
Not nearly as a rivalry as Canada/Russia but still two powerhouses coming together between Russia and the United States. In what has become a very important game for the landscape of Group B with every team being tied at 1 win, 1 loss. Whoever wins this game can set themselves up nicely for the rest of the group stage and promise themselves a higher seed going into the bracket stage.
As expected for most of the tournament, the Americans will lean on Spencer Knight in goal while the Russians will once again go with Amir Miftakhov. Miftakhov has had complete control over the Russian net since Askarov surrendered it to him in the first game of the tournament.
Russia has had an interesting tournament so far, losing to the Czech Republic on opening day and then handing Canada their worst loss ever in the tournament yesterday with a 6-0 win. The United States also hasn’t had a perfect road, losing to the Canadians 6-4 on opening day and then struggling against the Germans before finally pulling away in the third period.
For the most part, both teams skated evenly in the first period with the Americans holding a small shot clock edge, 10-8. In what looked like a period between two strong teams, a lot of speed through the neutral zone and a lot of good chances on the net but the goaltenders stood tall.
A lot of penalties to begin the second period, including a full 4-on-4 due to coincidental minors. Nothing would come out of it though as the goaltenders would hold the door and both penalty kills looked great. The Americans especially were fantastic at getting into passing lanes and blocking shots. For the first half of this game, it looked like it was going to go to a shootout tied 0-0. 16 minutes into the second period, the Americans would quickly go up 2-0. Thanks to goals from Arthur Kaliyev and Nicholas Robertson within an IIHF World Junior record SIX seconds. Stunning the Russians and taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
The Americans would open up the third period with a goal as well after Kaliyev would flutter a wrist shot on net just over the blue line that would somehow find a way through Miftakhov. That goal would end his night as he would be pulled in favor of Askarov, the 17-year old would get his opportunity to redeem himself and prove that he should be the starter once again going forward. Russia would finally get on the board thanks to an Alexander Romanov slapshot from the point that would find it’s way past Knight.
Despite pulling the goalie later in the game, it’s as close as the Russians would get in this one as the Americans would hold on for a 3-1 win and take the top spot in Group B heading into tomorrow.
Powerplay and Shots
0/5 PP 1/6 PP
25 shots 24 shots
Players of the Game
– Alexander Romanov
– Spencer Knight
Are you looking for more Russian content? Be sure to follow Arik on Twitter as he will providing you with Russia content throughout the whole WJC! HERE.
Photo Credit: Russiahockey_en/Twitter