Yet Another One-Sided Result
In a world junior tournament decided by one lopsided result after another, we've come to expect some ugly scores.
But nobody expected the usually powerful Russians to be at the wrong end of one.
The Swedes pounded the Russians 5-0 today at the Ottawa Civic Centre, opening up a 4-0 lead in the first period and coasting to an easy win, clinching first place in Pool B in the process and earning a bye into one of Saturday's semfinals.
The Russians received awful first period goaltending from Danila Alistratov, who coughed up four goals on 11 shots before being replaced by Vadim Zhelobnyuk. The Russians came into the tournament carrying the tragedy of playing without forward Alexei Cherepanov, who died tragically in a KHL game in the fall, and looked spiritless and non-competitive on the day.
Nikita Filatov, dangerous earlier in the tourney, had a chance to score early but otherwise was held in check by the Swedes, who got a 31-save performance from goalie Jacob Markstrom, a Florida Panthers draft pick, for the win.
The lone sour note for the Swedes on the day was an apparent shoulder injury suffered by captain Oscar Moller. The Los Angeles Kings prospect was crunched into the end boards early in the second, left the ice hunched over in pain and did not return.
The Swedes, losers in last year's gold medal game to Canada, appear to be good bets to return to the final. They dropped a 4-2 result to Canada in an exhibition tilt last month, but have been finding their feet on North American soil ever since.