Group B – Ondrej Nepla Arena, Bratislava
According to the motto „Let the Games Begin“, the 83rd Ice Hockey World Cup in Kosice was opened by IIHF President René Fasel. The first match in Bratislava was Russia against Norway. The Russian team, which probably compete with the best players available, were clearly favored. Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Nestorov, Dadonov, Kovalchuk are just a few very prominent names from NHL or KHL, which can be found in the roster of the „Red Machine“. The Russian team had only one goal: World Champion!
Norway’s first chance came from Valkvae Olsen, whose shot passes close to the goal. Russia countered and Nesterov and Anisimov failed at Goalie Haukeland. The Norwegians went the high speed of the Russians and Olden with a two-time attempt to defeat Vasilevski. Then again Russia was on the train but Khafizullin and Malkin fail at Haukeland. Norway also did not hide and Vasilevski had to defuse shots of Martinsen and Holos. Shortly thereafter, Russia came to the first power play in this game. That took only eleven seconds for the first goal. Kovalchuk takes off on Dadonov and scored the 1-0 (9.). Half a minute later Norway also came to a ower play, but Lindström and Johannesen could not use their chances. Russia did not have an easy match with the well-performing Norwegians. After an accurate pass from Anisimov, Grigorenko in front of Haukeland, he scored the 2-0 (15.). He takes the puck and lops it next to Haukeland in the gate. But Norway countered but Olden forgives another chance for the first Norwegian goal.
Norway had a power play after a few seconds after restart, but could not score. When this situation was over, Russia started a counter-attack and Gusev forgives his chance. After a good solo effort by Lindström this fails to Vasilevski. Shortly thereafter, Russia came back to a power play. This was used and Kucherov meets to 3-0 (29.). That was the preliminary decision in this game. Only one and a half minutes later, Russia had the next power play. This time only took two (!) Seconds and Dadonov used a pass from Malkin to 4-0 (30.). Russia then took a little bit out of the game. Going towards the end of the period, Malkin’s shot is close to the goal and Kovalchuk fails at Haukeland. Also Norway woke up again but Olimb and Roymark forgave their chances.
At the beginning of the last period Russia made everything clear. After a pass from Kucherov Gusev scored the 5-0 (42.). After this goal, Russia relented again, but Kucherov fails Haukeland. With continued Norway came back into the game, but Vasilevski prevented possible goals from Trettenes and Lindström. In the middle of the period Norway came to a power play, but gave good chances through Lindström and Forsberg. Afterwards, Russia also did more for the game and Plotnikov forgives his opportunity for his first goal. Towards the end, Norway once again launched an offensive to score an honorable goal. After a good pass from Reichenberg to Valkae Olsen he scores the 1-5 (57.). This goal was more than earned. The Norwegians pushed on. Martinsen plays the puck to Holos on the blue line. The takes over directly and scores for the 2-5 (58.). Russia’s goalie Vasilevski reached into the void. The victory for Russia changed nothing, they win this game 5-2.
Team Russia vs Team Norway 5-2 (2-0, 2-0, 1-2)
Group A – Steel Arena, Kosice
In the parallel match of Group A Finland played against Canada. The Finns started immediately and took a 1-0 lead through youngster Kakko (7.). However, Finland had to go into a power play for Canada shortly thereafter. These did not miss this chance and Marchessault scored the equalizer to 1-1 (9). It was a quick start of these two teams who continued playfully. There were further good chances but until the first break no further goals were scored.
The middle section neutralized with slight benefits for Finland. Sallinen forgives his chance and fails at Murray. On the Canadians‘ side, it was Marchessault who did not pass the puck on Lankinen. In the final period Finland came to a power play at the beginning. After only seven seconds Ilomaki meets with the 2-1 to the new lead (43.). The Canadians then tried everything to come again. At the end of the game, Murray went off the ice. That took advantage of Finland and Kakko scored with his second goal, an empty-net, 3-1 (60.). Finland definitely deserves this game against Canada.
Team Finland vs Team Canada 3-1 (1-1, 0-0, 2-0)