Russia down Finland to reach World Cup of Hockey semis
Toronto (Canada) (AFP)
Russia beat Finland 3-0 on Thursday to book a World Cup of Hockey semi-final clash with Canada and extinguish Team North America's hopes of advancing.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Telegin scored within two minutes of each other in the second period and Evgeni Malkin added a goal in the third period for Russia, who had 21 saves from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Finland goalie Tuukkla Rask made 19 saves but took his second defeat. The World Cup, being revived after editions in 1996 and 2004, is the first senior tournament in which Finland has gone winless. They scored just one goal in nine periods.
Russia had to beat the already eliminated Finns in order to advance as the second-place team in Group B.
Team North America, the exciting squad of 23 and under players from the United States and Canada, had the same four points as Russia but the Russians advanced by virtue of their 4-3 win over the North Americans on Monday.
After Russia and Canada clash on Saturday, Group B winners Sweden will play Team Europe in the other semi-final on Sunday.
Round robin play was scheduled to conclude later Thursday with the United States facing the Czech Republic in a clash of already eliminated teams.
With nothing but pride on the line, US defenseman Ryan McDonagh said he and his team-mates were determined to get a win on the board after two defeats.
"We don't want to get swept," he said.
With plenty at stake Russia started conservatively against Finland, but scored 3:42 into the second period when Tarasenko took a clever pass from Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and slotted a shot past Rask, who couldn't get across the crease in time.
Tarasenko's goal came one minute after Finland were denied a goal by the post behind Bobrovsky after Mikael Granlund put a one-timer past him.
Telegin made it 2-0 at 5:01 when he took a pass from Vadim Shipachev, cut across the goal mouth and in slid a shot before Rask could get to the far post.
Shipachev was in the lineup in the place of Pavel Datsyuk, the top-line center, who was scratched with an injury sustained in practice on Wednesday.
Malkin made it 3-0 at 3:39 of the third period, faking a pass during a 2-on-1 and then snapping a wrist shot to the short side.
© 2016 AFP