Russia dumps Norway out of hockey worlds
Published: 18 May 2012 09:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2012 09:40 GMT+02:00
Norway's ice hockey world championship dreams came to an end on the country's national day on Thursday, falling victim to an ultimately commanding display by Russia who ran out 5-2 winners.
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Russia had to battle through two tough periods against an obstinate Norway before running out 5-2 winners in Stockholm's Globe Arena.
Washington Capitals skipper Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Popov both scored early for Russia for a 2-1 lead before the first interval as Norway replied through their right winger Per-Åge Skrøder..
The championship's leading scorer Patrick Thoresen carried on his form as he picked up his 18th point (7 goals + 11 assists) scoring on powerplay just 28sec into the second to pull the scores level at 2-2.
But in the third Norway failed to keep up the pace and Montreal Canadiens' rear guard Alexei Yemelin put Russia ahead again.
Teammate Nikolai Zherdev and defender Ilya Nikulin added one apiece late on to secure Russia's ninth win over Norway at the worlds in as many matches.
"We met a good team, but when you have them at 2-2 after two periods, and they are struggling to score and were getting a little frustrated after several good opportunities against a good Haugen, there was hope. When they got to do 4-2 after the referee had blown because we had a man too many on the ice and their goal was approved, the game was over on our part. But we scared them and played a good game," Norway coach Roy Johansen said to the NTB news agency.
Johansen's Russian counterpart, Zinetulla Bilyaletdinov, recognised the contribution of late arriving NHL stars Ovechkin and Syomin.
"It was the first play-off match for this team and the guys were a bit nervous from the start," Bilyaletdinov said.
"Luckily, later in the match they managed to calm down and began playing their normal hockey. Ovechkin and (Alexander) Syomin played well after a long flight from Washington, both earning points. I'd say they seriously strengthened the team."
In Helsinki, holders Finland secured their advance to the semi-finals with a last-gasp winner against the United States on Thursday. Jesse Joensuu netted a double as Finland ran out 3-2 victors.
Olympic champions Canada were however shocked by Slovakia.
Slovakia claimed a 4-3 victory after a lively start which saw goals from Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky and 37-year-old veteran Miroslav Satan.
The Canadians struck back with three unanswered goals before Slovakia's Milan Bartovic levelled at 53:25, and San Jose Sharks center Michal Handzus netted a powerplay winner with just 2:28 remaining in the third period.
In the last quarter-final, the Czech Republic, who won their last world crown in 2010, saw off co-hosts Sweden 4-3.
Ottawa Senators winger Milan Michalek had the few Czech supporters in the Stockholm Globe arena on their feet with just 29sec remaining when he scored the winning goal.
In Saturday's semi-finals Finland will face Russia in a replay of the last year's semi-final, while Slovakia will take on former compatriots Czech Republic.