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Russia outlasts Slovakia 3-1 at WJC

Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 1:24 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

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Russia outlasts Slovakia 3-1 at WJC
Defending champion Russia stayed perfect in Group A preliminary-round play at the World Junior Championship in Calgary by outlasting Slovakia 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Defending champion Russia stayed perfect in Group A preliminary-round play at the World Junior Championship in Calgary by outlasting Slovakia 3-1 on Wednesday night.

The Russians won in regulation for the second time in as many games to move one point ahead of Sweden, a 4-3 shootout winner against Switzerland. The Russians face Latvia on Thursday before meeting the Swedes on Saturday in a game that should decide first place.

Mikhail Naumenkov broke a 1-1 tie 1:15 into the third period, and Igor Ozhiganov and Nikita Kucherov also scored for Russia. Milos Bubela had the lone goal for Slovakia, which fell to 1-1-0 despite a 37-save effort by Juraj Simboch.

Andrei Makarov made 31 saves for Russia, which has scored just six goals in its two wins -- but has allowed just one.

The Russians dominated the first period, outshooting Slovakia 18-8, but the Slovaks opened the scoring with 33 seconds remaining when Bubela fired a shot from the circle past Makarov's left pad.

Russia tied it at 4:11 of the second when Neil Yakupov set up a slapper by Ozhiganov from the left point that beat Simboch on his team's first shot of the period.
Naumenkov put Russia up 2-1 with a high wrister from the left point off a faceoff win by Ignat Zemchenko. Russia got some insurance with 5:29 left when Kucherov took a perfect passout from Mikhail Grigorenko and slammed it past Simboch.

The Slovaks have yet to defeat Russia in their 15 years of playing at the top level of the WJC.
Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com