(Courtesy of Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Russia continued their dominance at the Men’s World Championship on Thursday by beating Belarus 3-1 while clinching group A in the process. Goals from Sergei Mozyakin, Alexander Ovechkin, and Artem Anisimov put Russia through to the qualification round where they will face hosts Germany, Denmark, and Finland in the next four days.
Mozaykin scored his first goal of the tournament midway through the first period on the power-play blasting home a one-timer from Maxim Sushinsky. Ovechkin would double the lead in the second period from a off-balanced wrist shot for his third goal in as many games. Two minutes later newcomer Anisimov would get his first goal of the tournament as well scoring on a nearly empty net once goalie Andrei Mezin challenged Sushinsky out of his crease.
Belarus would spoil Semyon Varlamov’s bid for a shutout when Alexei Kalyuzhny put home a rebound with 8 minutes to go. Varlamov made his first start of the tournament after having his equipment lost by the airlines and looked sharp for someone who had not played since the Capitals were knocked out by the Canadiens two weeks ago. Varlamov stopped 19 of 20 shots.
The rules for the next round go as followed the top three teams from each group of the Preliminary Round will advance to the Qualifying Round. They will be placed into two groups: teams from Groups A and D will be placed into Group E, while teams from Groups B and C will be placed into Group F.
Every team will keep the points from preliminary round matches with teams who also advanced. The teams will play a single round robin, but will not play against teams which they already met in preliminary groups.
The top four teams in both groups E and F advanced to the Playoff Round.
Russia should be even more dangerous come next round as it was announced Pittsburgh Penguins duo Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin will join Sbornya alongside Pavel Datsyuk who was delayed in Moscow due to visa issues. The firepower up front and the experience on the blue-line should make the Russians a shoe-in for the gold medal game but as we’ve learned from Vancouver nothing is guaranteed in hockey.
Below you will find all four goals from Thursday.