The first stage of the Euro Hockey Tour, the Finnish Karjala Cup is up and running. The first day didn’t bring many surprises, with the Finns taking slight advantage over the Czechs and Sweden cruising to victory after shootout.
Powerplay beats the Czech Republic
Finland – Czech Republic 2:1 (1:0, 1:1, 0:0)
The Czechs started the tournament without their major KHL stars. The head coach Růžička wants to test the young guns, some of whom he’ll probably call to Prague for the World Championship next year. Although outshot 13-8 in the first period, team Finland were up ahead after 20 minutes of play at Hartwall Arena. Petr Pohl and Jakub Krejčík both earned penalties for tripping, Finland scoring on the latter’s. Jarkko Immonen found his way to the net at 16:15.
Olli Palola added another powerplay tally at 31:27 sealing the one-goal win for Team Finland. In the mean time Radek Smolenak had tied the game early in the second period. Juha Metsola in Finnish net finished the with 28 saves and 96.55 SVS%. Roman Ondrej was 50% winning faceoffs for the Czech Republic on 14 draws.
Sweden wins in shootout
Sweden-Russia 5:4 (2:0, 1:3, 1:1 – 0:0, 1:0)
When Anton Slepyshev answered at 45:57, only 53 seconds after Tom Wandell brought the Swedes the lead on a powerplay, no one could still say the game would be headed to overtime, let alone shootout. A more than crazy game in Tegera Arena in Sweden, marking the only game of the Karjala Cup played in Sweden, ended with the Russians losing tightly after the shootout.
A game full of action, bounce backs and goals marked a fantastic finish to opening day of the Karjala Cup. Linus Klassen had two assists on the day, the same amount that Ilya Zubov had on the other side. Four of the Russian players went multiple points – apart from Zubov, Alexander Radulov, Anton Slepyshev and Dmitri Kugryshev. The latter three had a goal and an assist. Sweden was evidently the better team in the first period, outshooting and outscoring their opposition. Patrik Hersley scored with just 1:35 into the game on the powerplay, before Andreas Engqvist doubled at 12:21 shorthanded.
The Russians woke up in the second and with three goals turned the game around into their favor – Kugryshev, Kokarev and Radulov scoring, the latter on a powerplay. David Ullstrom made it all tied at 36:09 at 3. Team Russia took a timeout in overtime as Znarok felt his team needed to settle down a bit. Andre Petersson scored the game winning goal in the shootout, lifting Sweden to #2 on the table.
Photo by Krume Ivanovski / KHL.hr