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Russia, Finland roll into quarters

Saturday, 01.01.2011 / 1:21 AM / 2011 World Junior Championship

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Russia, Finland roll into quarters
Russia needed a win against the Czech Republic to avoid relegation, and thanks to Vladimir Tarasenko's 4-point game, they'll next play Finland in Sunday's quarterfinals.
Russia needed a win in its final preliminary-round game to avoid the ignominy of relegation play, and they got just what they needed Friday.

Eight different players scored goals, and St. Louis Blues 2010 first-round pick Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and 3 assists as Russia routed the Czech Republic on Friday, 8-3.

Washington Capitals prospects Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitri Orlov, as well as Daniil Sobchenko, had a goal and 2 assists each.

"We are very happy and relieved that we moved to the quarterfinals," Tarasenko told reporters. "We will have a tough game there and there's no time to relax. We need to be prepared well. We're still on the way to be in our best shape, both me and the team, so there's still room for improvement."

Russia will play Finland at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday (NHLN-US), with the winner playing Sweden in the semifinals on Monday.

The Czech Republic opens relegation-round play Sunday against Germany.

Finland 6, Slovakia 0
-- Finland continued to its outstanding play, as Erik Haula scored a pair of goals and goaltender Joni Ortio stopped all 10 shots he faced in two periods of play. He was replaced for the third period by Sami Aittokallio, who stopped seven shots.

Ortio, a Calgary Flames prospect, finished the preliminary round by stopping 80 of 84 shots in four games. His .952 save percentage and 1.08 goals-against average are second only to Team USA goalie Jack Campbell in both categories.

"We play better together than last year and our defense is really good," Ortio told reporters. "Our opponents don't have many scoring chances against us. That makes it easier for a goalie to play behind them."

Finland, which finished second to the U.S. in Group A, plays Russia in Sunday's quarterfinal (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). The winner of that game will play Sweden in Monday's semifinal.

Quote of the Day

It's a little different but it feels amazing. A new chapter in my life and I'm excited. It's been amazing. Better than I expected. The weather is great, the place is just amazing. I can't say enough good things about it. I'm glad to get the season going.

— Ryan Kesler on his transition to the Anaheim Ducks