Fri, May 16, 2008 - Page 22 News List

Switzerland helps Russians to easy Worlds victory

AP , QUEBEC CITY

Switzerland put two pucks into its own net in the opening minutes, helping Russia to an easy 6-0 victory in the ice hockey World Championship quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Maxim Afinogenov had two goals for Russia, seeking its first world championship title since 1993. The Russians will play Finland in the semi-finals, a rematch of last year when they lost and settled for a bronze medal.

“It’ll be way harder than this game,” goalie Evgeni Nabokov said. “They’re more skilled, they’re more physical. They have a great power play. They have everything.”

Alexander Semin opened the scoring 1:14 into the game as Alexander Ovechkin screened goalie Martin Gerber.

Then, the costly mistakes came for the Swiss. Afinogenov got credit for a goal when Swiss defenseman Raphael Diaz pushed the puck into his own net with his hand at 2:18. He was in the crease after Afinogenov’s drive to the net and tried to push the puck under Gerber to freeze it.

Danis Zaripov was also given a goal that defenseman Philippe Furrer mistakenly shot into his own net 6:23 in. Furrer was attempting to clear the puck around the boards while killing a penalty, but his blast from the left circle went straight into the net.

“Maybe we were trying too much,” Swiss veteran Marc Reichert said. “One guy wanted to rim it around the boards and he missed the angle and it was in. The other tried to help the goalie and missed.

You can’t blame those guys. It was just really unlucky.”

A scary moment came with 6:47 left the game, when Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk took a major penalty and a game misconduct — earning an automatic suspension for the semi-final — after a charge on Julien Vauclair. The Swiss defenseman was down for several minutes and attended to by trainers on the ice before refusing a stretcher and skating off the ice under his own power.

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