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Russians remain perfect as host nation cruises past Germany

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

All the big stars came out to play on Saturday during Day 4 of the World Junior Championships as Team Russia, led by four Tampa Bay Lightning prospects, defeated Germany 7-0.

Bolts goaltending prospect Andrey Vasilevskiy pitched a perfect shutout, stopping all 41 shots faced, and Nikita Kucherov notched a goal and an assist for a total of two points on the night as the host country remained undefeated in their quest for a gold medal.

Having played three games in four days, the Russians now enjoy a day off before their climactic New Year’s Eve battle against Canada, a game that might well decide first place in Group B, depending on the Canada-United States result tomorrow.

The Russians made sure to skate out to a first-period lead and leave no hope on the German bench of an upset. Mikhail Grigorenko got the ball rolling in the second minute, taking advantage of a turnover in centre ice and going in on a 2-on-1 with Nikita Kucherov. Grigrorenko’s saucer pass was perfect, and Kucherov finished the play easily at 1:18.

Yaroslav Kosov scored a third-period hat trick and four other teammates had two points.

Another pair of Bolts prospects, defensemen Artem Sergeev and Nikita Nesterov, recorded a plus-one rating and three shots on goal, respectively, but were held off the score sheet.

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