Russia wins group

USA also in QF, Germany out of range

18.05.2014
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Minsk Arena Minsk  Belarus

Russia's Sergei Shirokov (#52) celebrates a third-period goal against Germany with Danis Zaripov (#25). Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

Three goals in the final twenty minutes ensured Russia first place in its group and USA a quarter-final berth. However, Alexander Ovechkin was hurt in the win.

Russia was able to get the goals they needed to defeat Germany 3-0 and remain unbeaten over six games at the World Championship. A power-play goal by Vadim Shipachyov at 3:58 of the third period broke the scoreless tie, much to the delight of the majority of the 14,021 in attendance.

The win means first place for Russia, that Team USA secured its quarter-final spot while for Germany the final round is out of reach. Russia still has one more game in the Preliminary Round on Tuesday against Belarus.

Also of equal and critical significance is Alexander Ovechkin having to leave the game in the third period with a possible injury after colliding with German forward Marcus Kink. He was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

"I can't share any information now; it will be released later," Russia head coach Oleg Znarok said after the game.

For two periods, Germany was able to keep the Russians off the scoreboard for the longest stretch of this World Championship tournament. Russia’s top line featuring Alexander Ovechkin and Viktor Tikhonov was held without a shot in the first period and only two combined shots after two periods.

"It was a tough game. Germany played well on defence and the goalie did well," said Alexander Burmistrov. "We kept trying to get shots on the net and in the end we got the breakthrough."

Alexander Burmistrov was able to draw a penalty after Anton Belov prevented a German rush out of their zone. Kink and Moritz Muller were both whistled off at the same time giving Russia a five-on-three. Despite shots by Yevgeni Medvedev and Artyom Anisimov, Russia would not be able to break through.

Once the minors expired, Muller was able to draw a penalty on Medvedev for tripping. Germany moved the puck well and generated several chances. While playing shorthanded, Sergei Kalinin got the puck to Shipachyov for a chance but was denied.

Germany started Philipp Grubauer and the Russians Andrei Vasilevski. Grubauer was making his first start in seven days since earning a 3-2 win over Latvia. Vasilevksi impressed in his previous start against the Americans when he stopped 39 of 40 shots in a 6-1 win.

Russia had a third power-play opportunity when Alexander Weiss was called off for kneeing Sergei Shirokov at 17:29. Shirokov appeared badly shaken on the play and was helped off the ice.

After losing to Switzerland last night, Germany was able to come back with a strong defensive effort in containing the Russians. They did get some solid chances throughout but were also held scoreless.

On one sequence, Alexander Barta made a silky outside inside move around Yegor Yakovlev but Vasilevksi was there for the save.

"I thought we played pretty good for the first two periods," Grubauer said. "We had a couple of chances in the second period and it was a good effort from everybody. You could see that everybody was enjoying it out there, myself included. It was a good game and Russia is the best time in this tournament so far."

Finally with Kink in the box for slashing in the third, Russia converted on the power play as Shipachyov scored his second goal of the tournament. Sergei Plotnikov possessed the puck in front of the net, skating laterally then dishing the puck off to Shipachyov, who rifled it in.

This was Shipachyov’s first game back after being suspended three games for a check to the head and neck area in the game against Finland.

Halfway through the third period a play developed that could impact Russia’s fortunes moving forward. After a German rush was thwarted and the puck going back through the neutral zone, Alexander Ovechkin was upended by Kink and lay on the ice for several minutes. Ovechkin had to be helped off the ice and could not put pressure on his right skate. He would not return to the game.

"That's not what my players are about, that's not what my team is about," Pat Cortina said of those questioning the hit. "It's an unfortunate incident and we hope he's OK. He's a great player and a great ambassador for the game of ice hockey. We need players like that and hopefully he will be fine and we'll see him back on the ice soon."

Immediately after the hit and a break in the action, Russia roared back when Shirokov, who was also hurt in the first period after a lower body hit, scored. Shirokov stickhandled when he was in the German zone, then sent a wrist shot through a crowd and past Grubauer high blocker side.

In the waning minute with Germany pulling Grubauer in attempt to get a goal, Tikhonov added his seventh goal in the tournament in the empty net.

Yevgeni Malkin is set to arrive and bolster the Russian team, possibly as soon as Tuesday. But the team, its coaches, officials and fans are holding their collective breath that Ovechkin is okay.

JOHN SANFUL

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