The Russian national ice hockey team finished their third group stage match of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey with the convincing 3-0 victory over Finland and advanced to the semifinals of the prestigious tournament hosted by Canada this month.
The Russian squad began the first period of the match at the packed Air Canada Center in strong control of the puck going on numerous offensives against the Finnish goal, but their opponents managed to find the tempo by the middle of the period and evened the game.
The opening period was scoreless although Finland had the chances to score on power-plays with two Russian players spending time in the penalty booth with five minutes remaining before the break.
It was Russia’s Vladimir Tarasenko to open the score of the match putting the puck into the net of Team Finland on the fifth minute of the middle period.
Less than two minutes later, his teammate Ivan Telegin scored another goal for Russia to up the advantage to 2-0, which was left unchanged until the teams retreated to their locker rooms before the third period.
On the fourth minute of the closing period Russia’s Stanley Cup winner Yevgeny Malkin cannoned the puck into the net behind Finnish goalkeeper Tuukka Rask scoring his first goal at the 2016 World Cup and putting the match’s score at 3-0, which flashed on the scoreboard until the final siren.
The Russian team is now facing the winners of Group A in the tournament’s semifinal match on Saturday and they are hosts Canada.
Reigning Olympic and World Champions Canada rolled past all of their three opponents of the group stage period with an impressive advantage, first crushing the team from the Czech Republic 6-0, then Team USA 4-2 and Team Europe 4-1.
Eight teams taking part in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were divided in two groups. Group A lists Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic and Team Europe (comprising players from other European countries not taking part in the competition). Group B has Finland, Russia, Sweden and Team North America (consisting of under-23 North American players).
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey is being held in Toronto between September 17 and October 1.
The World Cup of Hockey is an international successor to the previously famous Canada Cup (held between 1976 and 1991). After the international event was inaugurated in 1996, it was staged only once again in 2004.
The World Cup of Hockey was organized by the NHL and therefore it was played according to the league’s rules unlike the annual Ice Hockey World Championships and the quadrennial Winter Olympic hockey tournaments, which are sanctioned by the IIHF and are played according to different rules.
The matches of the World Cup of Hockey are played outside the NHL regular season allowing the league’s best players to compete in the international event unlike the annual World Championships, which usually overlap with NHL’s playoffs.