RUSSIANS GET WILD WIN OVER SWISS, CLINCH TOP SPOT IN GROUP
JASON LA ROSE
BONNYVILLE, Alta. – Ivan Chekhovich scored the game-winning goal with five seconds left in overtime, giving Russia a 6-5 win over Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge.
The victory clinches first place in Group A for the Russians, and sends them directly to the semifinals on Thursday. (An overtime loss would have meant the same result; Russia needed just a single point to top Canada West in the group.)
It’s the fourth time in 11 appearances that Russia has topped its group in the preliminary round.
With time ticking down in the extra period and a shootout looming, Veniamin Baranov dove to clear the puck from the Russian zone and Chekhovich raced away, going to the backhand on the breakaway for the winner.
Andrei Svechnikov, one of the youngest players in the tournament, continued his strong play with two goals and an assist; the 16-year-old sits tied with linemates Chekhovich and Andrey Lipanov for the scoring lead with six points in two games.
The Swiss found the scoreboard first 7:29 in when Justin Sigrist beat Russian goaltender Dimitrii Raiko with a quick shot from the slot, but captain Klim Kostin got Russia even on the power play eight minutes later.
Sigrist jumped on a turnover in the Russian zone to score his second of the period with 59 seconds left in the opening frame, sending Switzerland to the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The teams went back and forth in the second, with Russia carrying most of the play, before the offensive floodgates opened in the latter half of the stanza.
Baranov brought Russia even again at 12:50, beating Swiss netminder Alexander Jaks to a rebound on the power play, but Arnaud Riat answered at 14:06, knocking in a pretty feed from Jan Petrig for a 4-3 lead.
Svechnikov needed just 39 seconds to tie the game for the third time, only for Nils Seiler to spin in the slot and beat Raiko at 17:17 to restore the Swiss advantage at 5-4 heading to the third period.
In all, the teams combined for four goals in four minutes and 33 seconds.
Lipanov didn’t waste any time erasing a fourth one-goal deficit for the Russians – his centering pass hit a Swiss skate and eluded Jaks just 54 seconds into the final frame – and Svechnikov gave Russia its first lead at 3:29 when his shot rolled up and over the Swiss goaltender.
Ramon Tanner tied the game for Switzerland at 5:27, eventually forcing overtime.
Russia finished with a 34-19 advantage in shots on goal.
Switzerland finished third in Group A and will play in the first quarter-final on Wednesday (3:30 p.m. MT), but will wait for the Canada East-United States result from Tuesday night to find out its opponent.