Russians take bronze after tight contest against Switzerland

Russians take bronze after tight contest against Switzerland

Steven Ellis06 Jan 2019Steven Ellis»

It didn’t come easy, but Russia has won bronze at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver, Canada after a 5-2 victory over Switzerland on Saturday afternoon.


It didn’t come easy, but Russia has won bronze at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver, Canada after a 5-2 victory over Switzerland on Saturday afternoon.

The bronze medal is Russia's 11th at the tournament and 35th medal all-time, their first after their seven-year streak of winning medals came to an end last year in Buffalo.

The win was the second for the Russians against Switzerland at the tournament this year, avoiding a big upset in the round robin to win 7-4 after trailing early in the game.

Luca Hollenstein had to be very busy early in the going, stopping five shots in the first two minutes of play. The Russians would make it 1-0 at 4:25, however, as Kirill Slepets received a feed from Ivan Morozov along the boards. Slepets would then skate towards the net uncontested, deking out Hollenstein to put his team on the board first.

Then, nine minutes later, the Russians got another one. Vasili Podkolzin would set up Nikita Shashkov in the slot, with Shashkov — who scored the goal that was waved off for intentionally directing the puck into the net with his skate against the Americans — would wire a wrist shot past Hollenstein’s blocker, putting the Russians up two heading into the first intermission.

The Swiss have shown they don’t like backing down and they managed to gain some life early in the middle frame. At 24:54, Simon le Coultre passed the puck to NHL draft prospect Valentin Nussbaumer, who then spun around and beat Pyotr Hochetkov past his right pad, giving the Swiss a chance.

But at 32:53, Klim Kostin, who gained the ire of fans following a post-game ceremony, would give the spectators more to boo about when his wrist shot blew past Hollenstein and in to restore the two-goal advantage.

Before the second stanza came to a close, a wild sequence resulted in the Swiss getting back on the scoresheet. Nico Gross and Justin Sigrist would both get robbed by Kochetkov, but after Sigrist's second opportunity went off the post, Yannick Brushweiler was in front of the net and managed to bat in the goal past Kochetkov, giving the Canadian fans something to cheer for.

It took nearly seven minutes for the Russians to take a shot in the third period, but they didn't waste it. Slepets, an undrafted forward, would blow past two Swiss defenders and would make a mini-breakaway. Like on the first goal, he would use his quick hands to deke out Hollenstein before sliding the shot through his legs, giving Russia a two-goal lead that the Swiss couldn’t overcome. Slepets would complete the hat-trick late in the game with a shorthanded empty-netter, finishing off the job to give the Russians a 5-2 victory and a spot on the medal podium.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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