Belarus and Russia clashed in Umea in the quarter-finals, and it would be the Russians moving on to the semi-finals in Ornskoldsvik after shutting out Belarus 6-0.
Belarus was gifted a power play early in the match, but Russia did not let them set up for a good chance. The Belarusians then took two penalties close together, with one of the best scoring opportunities of the period coming on a shorthanded break.
With 16 minutes gone off the clock and Russia back at even strength, Ilya Nikolayev sailed the puck high glove side to open the scoring.
Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov made a beautiful glove save on Valentin Demchenko, before his team returned to the advantage. They would widen the lead to 2-0 thanks to a tap in at the side of the net from Arseni Gritsyuk with 59 seconds left in the opening frame.
Vasili Podkolzin, captain of the Russian squad, knew they were on the right track after the opening 20 minutes. “Our plan was to play aggressively, to play our style of hockey from the very beginning of the game.”s
The second period opened with Danil Gushin lighting the lamp, closely followed by Rodion Amirov thanks to a beautiful pass from Yaroslav Likhachyov on the power play as penalty trouble continued to plague Belarus. Russia thought they added a fifth goal on a power play after Rostislav Zinovenko went for a kick save, but then tried to close the five hole too late. The goal was called back due to it being kicked in, but Belarus still decided to replace Zinovenko with Alexei Kolosov.
Three penalties in a row for the Belarusians only saw one goal from the Russians as Yegor Chinakhov officially made it 5-0.
Belarus tried to ramp up their game in the third, but it was too little too late as the Russia shut them down at every turn. Yegor Spiridonov made it 6-0 near the end, and that was the game.
With six different players adding tallies to the Russian score, it showed that everyone was rolling in today’s game. “We have four lines that are filled with good players. Every guy from every line can produce, and it is important to our game,” Podkolzin said of his teammates.
Russia will now face the USA in the semi-finals on Saturday, and Podkolzin is confident in his team. “We do not plan to add something new or anything special,” he said, “We have to play our best game against the USA, and that’s the plan.”