Russia claws back for win
by Andrew Podnieks|31 DEC 2018
Russia's Kirill Marchenko (#12) celebrates with Alexander Romanov (#26) and Alexander Alexeyev (#4) after scoring a goal against Switzerland.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Russia was not always at its best this afternoon at the Rogers Arena, but Switzerland failed to capitalize on the moment. The Russians slowly got their fight going, winning 7-4 in a thrilling game that had a little bit of everything. Seven scorers counted for Russia while Marco Lehmann had two for the Swiss.

That wraps up the preliminary round robin for the Swiss, which finishes in either third or fourth place and will play in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

"We started well," said defenceman Simon le Coultre. "We had the lead, but then mistakes cost us the game. And we had chances on the power play and didn't score. This was a game we could have won."

Russia, meanwhile, has one more game to play, a much anticipated showdown with Canada on New Year’s Eve to determine first place in Group A. Both teams are 3-0-0-0 with nine points.

"It was a fun game, but we got off to a bad start," said Russian Dmitri Samorukov. "But in the intermission we talked about playing like a team and playing a simple game. In the end, we're happy." 
Switzerland vs. Russia- 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
RUS SUI 31 DEC 2018
The Swiss got just the start they needed, striking just 49 seconds into the game. A shot by Sven Leuenberger was blocked in front but Marco Lehmann backhanded the rebound high into the net.

The Russians looked vulnerable defensively, so it was no surprise that the Swiss went up 2-0 midway through the period. In a similar vein, a Janis Moser shot was stopped by Danil Tarasov, but Valentin Nussbaumer lifted the rebound in at 9:06. 

Kirill Marchenko got one back for the Russians at 14:27. He got a puck in the high slot and wristed a shot past the glove of Akira Schmid to cut the lead in half. 

Soon after, Grigori Denisenko had a great chance to tie the game, but Schmid managed to get a shoulder on the shot.

The Russians slowly got their act together in a second period that can only be described as bizarre in the extreme. In traditional terms, the Swiss went ahead 3-1 at 5:46 when Leuenberger found Lehmann in front.

But, as in the first, the Russians struck right back, making it 3-2 just 21 seconds later. This time it was Dmitri Samorukov, who wired a laser over the shoulder of Schmid from the faceoff dot.

Later in the period the Swiss had two power-play chances that nearly turned on them. Both times the Russians got the puck off the faceoff and created breakaway. In both instances it was Kirill Slepets, and both times Schmid stoned him.

In between, though, the Russians tied the game on a man advantage of their own. Vitali Kravtsov found Grigori Denisenko with a lovely saucer pass to the back side, and Denisenko one-timed it before Schmid could get over.

Late in period a play occurred that no fan has ever seen before. Guaranteed. Lehmann stole the puck from Samorukov and had a clear break. Samorukov fouled him, and the referee raised his arm to call a penalty shot. Lehmann fought and got back to his skates and continued in, and Samorukov again brought him down.

The referees awarded the Swiss not one but TWO penalty shots! But first Lehmann and then Philipp Kurashev failed to beat Tarasov, so it remained a 3-3 game.

"I wasn't able to get off the ice, so it was a long shift for me," Samorukov said. "I didn't have my full legs."

Then, before the period ended, Ivan Muranov received a five-minute major and game misconduct for butt-ending. Most of that time came at the start of the third, and Slepets finally did what he had come close to doing twice earlier – score shorthanded. His goal at 2:04 gave the Russians their first lead, and they increased it to 5-3 at 6:38 on the power play. Defenceman Alexander Alexeyev wired a low shot to the far side that fooled Schmid.

But the Swiss showed fighting spirit. Yannick Bruschweiler corralled a loose puck at centre and went in one-on-one, beating the defenceman and Tarasov at 7:13 to make it 5-4.

That bit of a rally was wiped out at 11:42 when a defensive lapse gave Pavel Shen the puck in the slot, and he buried his shot. Kravtsov added to the tally 68 seconds later.
Switzerland vs. Russia (2019 IIHF WJC)