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Russia up 2-1 after two periods

Monday, 01.03.2011 / 5:11 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

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2011 World Junior Championship Blog
Russia up 2-1 after two periods
Russia has shown no tired legs after Sunday night's miracle comeback against Finland in the quarterfinals.

Back on the ice 17 hours after the overtime win against Finland, Russia was right back on the HSBC ice Monday afternoon, playing top-seeded Sweden in the first of the day's two semifinals.

After two periods, Russia holds a 2-1 lead and is looking to spring a second-straight upset.

Team captain Vladimir Tarasenko gave Russia the lead in the first period and then Denis Golubev stretched the lead to 2-0 when he found himself alone in the slot after a great pass from Stanislav Bocharov and used a sweet forehand-backhand move to get Sweden goalie Robin Lehner moving in the wrong direction before potting a far-corner shot just inside the goal post.

Tarasenko, a 2010 first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, scored at the 6:37 mark of the first period, on just Russia's second shot. On the play, Tarasenko put together a strong cycling shift before barging toward the net along the goal line extended and firing a no-angle shot that somehow deflected behind Lehner.

Sweden applied the majority of pressure early on -- outshooting Russia 12-4 at one point -- but could not solve Russian goalie Dmitri Shikin, who robbed Jesper Fasth and Johan Larsson with beautiful saves.

In fact, it took almost 38 minutes before Sweden finally found the back of the net and it took an explosive slapper from Adam Larsson on the power play to turn the trick.

Defenseman Maxim Berezin was in the box for tripping when Jesper Thornberg passed a puck into the slot from the corner. Rickard Rakell, in the slot, tried to play it, but only got enough of his stick on it to slow it down. Then Larsson, projected as a top-five pick for the 2011 Entry Draft, pounced, pinching in to unload a cannon that beat Shikin, who had stopped the first 27 shots he faced in this game.

Russia needed a miracle comeback Sunday -- scoring two goals in the game's final four minutes against Finland to force OT before Evgeny Kuznetsov won the game in the seventh minute of OT -- just to get into Monday's game.

Sweden, meanwhile, heavily was favored to win this semifinal. Not only did they already beat Russia, 2-0, in pool play; but they were well-rested. By knocking off pre-tournament favorite Canada on the last day of pool play, Sweden earned the quarterfinal bye and did not have to play Sunday.
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We're buyers. We're committed to winning. That's what [owner Vinnie Viola] has said all along and what we've said all along. We want to win. We want to win a championship. We're putting the pieces together, step by step, and we're hopeful that Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It's a win-win for us.

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