Canada on Saturday needed three third-period goals to break open a showdown with Russia and reach the World Cup of Hockey final with a 5-3 victory — the latest installment in the storied rivalry between the two nations.
Canada struck three times in the opening 10 minutes of the final period to break a 2-2 deadlock before holding the explosive Russian offense largely in check the rest of the way and set up a title decider against Sweden or Team Europe.
“I get pretty excited when it’s Canada versus Russia, whether playing in [tonight’s] game or if it’s the world juniors, any type of hockey game,” said Canadian captain Sidney Crosby, who finished the game with a goal and two assists. “History has provided us with some great games, it’s exciting as a Canadian hockey player playing against Russia.”
Photo: The Canadian Press via AP
The highly anticipated clash between the two nations was their first in a best-on-best tournament since Canada dominated a quarter-finals showdown at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The victory sent them through to a best-of-three final starting tomorrow against the winner of yesterday’s semi-final between Group B winners Sweden and Group A runners-up Team Europe, a mix of players from eight countries.
The host nation opened the scoring about eight minutes into the game on a superb individual effort from Crosby, who took the puck from Dmitry Kulikov and skated across the front of the Russian net before sending a backhand shot over goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Photo: The Canadian Press via AP
Canada dominated the first period and could have easily been ahead by more if not for the superb play of Bobrovsky, who stoned a number of wide open Canadian shooters.
Russia, who needed to beat winless Finland in their last group stage contest just to reach the semis, came to life early in the second period, when Nikita Kucherov used a terrific shot to beat Canadian goalie Carey Price on a two-on-one break.
Russia pulled ahead on just their 12th shot of the game with about three minutes left in the period, when Evgeny Kuznetsov batted the puck out of the air from the edge of the Canadian crease to silence a stunned home crowd.
However, Canada responded 72 seconds later, with Brad Marchand sending a beautiful feed from Crosby into the Russian net. The period ended with both teams engaged in some pushing and shoving along the end boards.
Marchand gave Canada some breathing room 76 seconds into the third period when he took a pass from Crosby and beat Bobrovsky on the glove side for his second goal of the game.
Corey Perry and John Tavares also scored for Canada before the final period reached its midway point to take the wind out of the sails of a Russian squad that once again fell short in a best-on-best multinational tournament.
Russia’s Artemi Panarin got one back with nine seconds to play, but that was of little solace to a Russia team that came into this tournament with one of the most lethal offenses.
“It was close, but not close enough,” Russia captain Alex Ovechkin said. “We tried to use our speed, they have a lot of talented guys. It’s hard, everybody knew we could beat them. Everybody had that feeling in the locker room.”
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017