Russia Rallies Past Canada En Route to Semifinals


(courtesy of AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR)

Having played two periods of what looked like hopeless hockey, Team Russia overturned a 1-0 deficit against a favorite rival to secure a place in the semi-finals of the 2011 Men’s World Championships. Canada would grab the first goal of the game on a Jason Spezza breakaway in the second period and would hold on as Russia failed to convert on every powerplay they got through the interval. Russia was even gifted a 4-minute man advantage after Ilya Kovalchuk received a stick to the face by his own teammate only to have the ref pinch John Tavares, they would fail to bother goalie Jonathan Bernier with any real pressure.
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Alexei Kovalev Becomes 3rd Russian to Score 1,000 Points in NHL


(Photo courtesy of Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

First it was Sergei Fedorov, a month later it was Alexander Mogilny, and tonight, well over six years since a Russian-born player reached the 1,000 career point plateau, Ottawa’s Alexei Kovalev joins an elite club. Kovalev scored a power-play goal midway through the first period(at exactly 10:00) to give the Senators the early lead. With the goal, assisted by fellow countryman Sergei Gonchar, Kovalev became the 76th NHL player to have his career points go into quadruple digits.

Kovalev fired a slap shot past Jonathon Quick after Gonchar’s shot bounced off a LA Kings defender for his sixth goal of the year. The shot was powerful enough to break his stick. Kovalev would add an assist on the game winning goal by Jason Spezza to earn the first star of the game. He becomes the second Senators player to eclipse 1,000 points with captain Daniel Alfredsson doing so exactly a month ago.
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Russia edges Canada 2-1 clinch second consecutive gold medal

roooocourtesy of HHOF-IIHF Images)

With a 2-1 win over their arch rivals Canada on Sunday, the Russian national team won their second straight gold medal on the world championship stage. Goals from Oleg Saprykin and Alexander Radulov was all Russia needed as they relied heavily on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The Phoneix Coyote would make 37 saves often diving left and right to deny Canada an equalizer.

Jason Spezza would open the scoring for Canada with a practically empty net to shoot at as Bryzgalov was not expecting a redirect. It was the eighth time in nine games that Canada opened the scoring.

Seven minutes later Russia would go on the man advantage where Saprykin would tip in the equalizer past Dwayne Roloson. Both teams would go into the intermission tied at 1. In the second the referees missed a clear high stick on Dany Heatley who hit his former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk in the mouth. Kovalchuk would lose a tooth on the play.

Radulov would get on the board minutes later as he played a 2-on-1 towards Roloson. The NHLer-turned-KHLer would outlast defensemen Chris Phillips while cutting across the top of the slot and would beat Roloson at 14:30.

Russia would hold off the onslaught in the final frame as both teams missed opportunities to make or break their fortunes. As the final horn sounded Bryzgalov was mobbed by his teammates as they celebrated their second straight gold medal against Canada.

Bryzgalov would get the player of the game award and Kovalchuk would be named tournament MVP. The win gave Russia possession of first place in the IIHF world standings for the first time since 2004.

Below is the team joyfully singing the national anthem which would give any Russian citizen chills as the exuberant faces are linked shoulder to shoulder unified by their flag.