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Russia Squeezes Past Slovakia in Hockey Shootout

Published: February 17, 2014 (Issue # 1797)



  • Russia is searching for its first Olympic hockey title since the fall of the Soviet Union.
    Photo: Gregory Sokolov / RIA Novosti

Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk overcame injury to score the winning goal in a shootout to squeeze his disjointed team past Slovakia 1-0 in the Olympic hockey tournament.

Russia finishes second in Group A behind the United States, who pounded Slovenia 5-1 on Sunday, and will have to play an extra playoff round before the quarterfinals, barring a vast blowout either way in Canada-Finland later in the day.

Related: SKA Forward Kovalchuk Listed on Sochi Hockey Roster

The match continued a string of underwhelming showings by the host hockey team, with Russian President Vladimir Putin looking on for the second game running. Russia's narrow win over Slovakia followed a 3-2 shootout loss to the U.S. on Saturday and, before that, a 5-2 win over outsider Slovenia that was also harder than expected.

The Slovakians, once tipped as a dark horse for a medal, ends the preliminaries with three defeats.

The Russians outshot Slovakia 31-24 in regulation and enjoyed five power-plays, but were denied by some strong Slovak penalty-killing and lights-out goaltending by Jan Laco.

The Russian offense was briefly hobbled when Kovalchuk required treatment in the locker room for an apparent knee injury, but the ex-New Jersey Devils man returned to the ice early in the third.

The closest Russia came to scoring was when defenseman Evgeny Medvedev’s shot bounced off the crossbar and post at the start of the third period. Officials ruled no goal on video replay.

Overtime saw more heroics from Laco, who stopped five more shots, and some desperate Slovak defensive play as the Central Europeans ran down the clock.

In the shootout, Slovakia missed both its shots and Russia secured the win as Alexander Radulov and Kovalchuk both beat Laco.

Russia is searching for its first Olympic hockey title since the fall of the Soviet Union.





 


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Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.