IIHF World Championship Top Division 2019 Russia vs Czech Republic #22 Nikita Zaitsev, #97 Nikita Gusev, #86 Nikita Kucherov, #32 Patrik Bartosak. Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava ©Puckfans.at/Andreas Robanser

The first game was a classic – Russia vs Czech Republic. In both teams are stars from the NHL and KHL in the roster. A sold-out Ondrej Nepla Arena in Bratialava created a great atmosphere.

It was not the big game at first. Both teams without proper game flow. Russia had their first chance through Zaitsev, but Goalie Bartosak was there. A nice combination played between Simon and Frolik was without scoring. Russia looked a bit cramped and Ovechkin did not control the puck from close range. The Czechs became more active and did more for the game. A shot from Kubalik passes just by the gate and Vrana has bad luck with his solo, Vasilevski could hold his shot. Khafizullin arrives at the puck and continues to play Andronov. The shoots immediately and scored the 1-0 for Russia (14.). The Czech Republic tried to equalize, but Vasilevski deflected Frolik’s shot into the near corner. Ten seconds before the break Simon has another chance, but his shot goes just over the goal.

IIHF World Championship Top Division 2019 Russia vs Czech Republic #93 Jakub Voracek, #22 Nikita Zaitsev. Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava ©Puckfans.at/Andreas Robanser

After the break, the scanning was over. Both teams acted with fast moves and also came to opportunities. Russia had an early power-play, but goal fell none. The Czech Republic also let a power play pass without a goal. Russia’s Kucherov has bad luck with his attempt. The puck slips under Bartosak in the direction of goal, but Czech defensive could beat the puck before the line. The Czechs repeatedly with rapid attacks, but Vrana fails Vasilevski. It went back and forth with fast game combinations. Make a pass double pass between Kucherov and Gusev this scored the 2-0 (33.). Gusev latches the puck to the back of Bartosak and from there he jumps into the goal. The Czech Republic had a very good opportunity through Kovar Jan, but again Vasilevski was alert in the Russian goal.

In the final period the Czechs became more active again and Voracek failed Vasilevski. Further chances were the Czech team in a power play by Vrana and Kovar Jan before. A double chance for Russia was for Telegin and Kovalchuk, the Czech goalie Bartosak defeated. The Czechs tried everything again. After a perfect pass from Chytil to Palat, he shoots far over the goal. Shortly thereafter, the Russian team was lucky, Zohorna only hits the pole. Hronek also tried a long shot, but it went almost off. In one of the rare attacks Gusev had twice the chance but he also forgives Bartosak. The Czechs increased the pressure, they wanted the gate. Voracek with an ideal pass to Simon, but Vasilevski fends off. Russia responded with a few good attacks, but Malkin, Nesterov and Gusev could not beat Bartosak. Two minutes before the end of the Czech Republic goalie Bartosak went from the ice. During the game build-up, the Czechs lose the puck to Zaitsev and he scores the 3-0 (60.) with an empty-net long-range goal. Russia also wins the third game and Vasilevski celebrates his first shut-out.

Photo Galerie RUS vs CZE

Team Russia vs Team Czech 3-0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)

In Kosice there was also a duel on equal terms between the US and Finland. At the same time, the two young stars of the teams, Jack Hughes (USA) and Kaapo Kakko (FIN) face each other and were spotted by the numerous scouts.

The game has not been played for a minute, as scored by Skjei, after pass by DeBrincat, the 1-0 for the United States (1.). A dream start that continues to inspire the US team. The Finns came very hard into the US zone, also because the defense was very low. A few seconds after halftime of the period, Gaudreau increases with a shot to 2-0 (11.). The Finns were now under pressure to move and had to react. The opportunities that have now emerged were prevented by Goalie Schneider. Just under a minute before the break Pesonen succeeds but then the connection goal to 1-2 (20.).

After the break, the Americans came again and again dangerous before the Finnish goal. Goalie Vehvilainen was able to prevent further goals, even with a power play for the United States. Even the Finns came to a power-play opportunity, but a goal should be denied for the time being. When it was time to retire, Finland had another power play. And again, the Finn managed a few seconds before the break a goal. Ojamaki scores after a pass from Manninen the equalizer goal to 2-2 (40.).

In the last twenty minutes both teams searched the decision with fast attacks. In part, the opportunities were forgiven lightly. This period was scoreless and it went into the over-time. In overtime, the US had the better end for itself. Larkin scores the goal to 3-2 victory over Finland.

Team USA vs Team Finland 3-2 OT (2-1, 0-1, 0-0, 1-0)