MALMÖ – Russia stormed out to a 5-0 lead after 15 minutes and coasted to a 11-0 win over Norway in the first game for both teams at the 2014 U20 World Championship.
The second line of Vyacheslav Osnovin-Alexander Barabanov-Damir Zhafyarov accounted for three of those goals.
As well, goalie Andrei Vasilevski tied one all-time U20 record in this opening game and could have tied another. Merely by playing in it he tied 14 goalies for most career U20 tournaments with three. And, had he gained sole credit for the shutout, it would have put him in more exclusive company. Only Slovakia’s Jaroslav Halak has four career shutouts.
However, coach Mikhail Varnakov pulled Vasilevki midway through the game with the score 7-0, so Vasilevski had to share the goose egg with Ivan Nalimov.
"We just tried to play the game as if the score was close the whole time or as if we were playing Canada or Sweden," said Mikhail Grigorenko, who finished with a goal and two assists. The 12th overall draft choice in 2012 had played only sparingly with the Buffalo Sabres and was loaned to the Russian team for the tournament.
"I wasn't playing much there, and it's always an honour to play for your country," he added.
Osnovin opened the scoring at 5:03 when he took a quick feed from Barabanov behind the net. Just 83 seconds later defenceman Nikita Zadorov ripped a wrist shot past goalie Henrik Haukeland, and eleven seconds after that Zhafyarov converted a two-on-one with Osnovin. Zhafyarov also finished with a goal and three points.
The Russian defence combined for three goals and five assists in the game.
Two goals later in the period put the game well out of reach, but credit goes to the impressive Malmo crowd which showed its appreciation by giving the Norwegians a nice round of applause any time they came up with a decent shift or chance on goal (which, unfortunately, wasn’t that often).
The Russians added another fiver in the middle period on a variety of plays. There was Vadim Khlopotov’s shot from the slot off a nice pass from Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev’s superb one-timer on the power play, and Zadorov’s clear shot after skating into a scoring position.
Slepyshev added his second of the game for the only goal of the final period. The goal was surrendered by Joachim Svendsen who played the final 20 minutes in relief of Haukeland.