Russians rule the roost
Russians rule the roost
Latvia to play relegation after another big loss
Alexei Lipanov added a goal and an assist, and Andrei Svechnikov and Mark Rubinchik also scored for Russia. Captain Kim Kostin and Vladimir Kuznetsov had two assists apiece.
The result sends Latvia to the relegation round, starting on Thursday.
"We played with a focus on structure," said Russian assistant captain Mikhail Sergachyov. "It was a better game than we've played before. One of the best in the tournament so far."
Russian goalie Danil Tarasov earned his first U18 tournament shutout and second win as Russia outshot Latvia 46-20. It was Russia's first regulation win in Grand Forks after losing 8-2 to the host U.S. and edging Switzerland 2-1 in overtime.
After a promising start with extra-time losses to Switzerland and Sweden, Latvia’s tournament has degenerated. It lost 12-1 to the Americans on Sunday afternoon, and didn’t seem to have much gas in the tank for this battle with its neighboring rival.
The Russians had ample room to show off their offensive skills all afternoon long.
"We scored seven goals, including power-play and shorthanded ones, which is good," said Sergachyov. "It will help us in the next game and the quarter-finals."
It was the fifth consecutive Russian victory over Latvia at this tournament, dating back to 2007. Russia wraps up its Group B slate against Sweden on Tuesday.
At 7:24, Bitsadze thought he’d given Russia the early lead, but the play was video-reviewed and it was waved off since he kicked the puck into the net.
Svechnikov opened the scoring for real on the power play at 11:09, taking a nice pass from Pavel Dyomin at the Latvian blue line, cutting in off left wing, and tucking a backhand past Latvian starter Mareks Mitens.
The Russians ran roughshod over their opponents with three quick goals late in the first period.
Lipanov made it 2-0 at 17:43, busting down the middle and surprising the Latvian netminder with a high, fluttering shot.
Bitsadze got the third Russian goal just 14 seconds later, as Kostin capitalized on a turnover below the Latvian goal line and centered the puck to him right in front and he made no mistake.
Latvian coach Eriks Miluns made the futile gesture of pulling Mitens in favor of Gustavs Grigals. The Russians scored on their first shot, as Rubinchik got behind the Latvian defence and roofed it stick side for a shorthanded tally at 18:55.
The second and third periods turned into a sloppy penalty-fest.
With the teams playing 4-on-4, Bitsadze took a fabulous diagonal cross-ice pass from Kostin and cruised in to give Russia its fifth goal at 5:49.
Marushev stretched the lead to 6-0 at 14:35, going hard to the net to convert Vladimir Kuznetov’s feed.
In the final stanza, Marushev got his second of the game on a 5-on-3 at 4:06, squeezing one through from the left faceoff circle.
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