Russia vs Slovakia : Russia was great against Canada yesterday, but have seemed to play down to their weaker opponents in group play. They are the heavy favourites in this one, and will look to get back to the semi-final after a disappointing quarter-final loss to the United States last year. Slovakia put up a big game against Kazakhstan and was close against the US but wasn’t really close in their other group games and is a big underdog against the Russians. The game will be on TSN 3/5 in Canada, NHL Network in the US.
The head coach of Canada’s junior hockey team says his squad didn’t have a “driver’s mentality” when they began a battle with the Russians Monday night.
“Foot on the gas, looking through the windshield and you’re going after them, you’re going after a win. We didn’t play like that and that’s how winners play,” Tim Hunter said after Canada dropped a 2-1 decision to Russia.
The coach said he knew Russia would be a challenging opponent and his group didn’t play fast enough to scratch out a victory in the tough-fought game.
“They’re a good team. They compete hard,” he said. “We kind of gave them a little bit of free time because we didn’t play as good as we’re capable.”
The loss was Canada’s first at the world junior hockey championship and marked the end of its round-robin play.
Russia (4-0-0-0) finished first in Group A while Canada (3-1-0-0) was second. Sweden topped Group B.
With another quick strike, it looked as though Canada was off and running once again at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship. But after answering Cody Glass’s 1-0 goal swiftly with one of its own, Russia stymied the Canadian offence from there en route to an upset 2-1 win, wresting the top spot in Group A away from its long-time rivals.
Pavel Shen delivered the decisive goal for Russia with nine minutes remaining in the third period, while Pyotr Kochetkov was brilliant, making 30 saves for the victory.
Russia earns a quarterfinal date with Slovakia, while Canada will now have to go through the United States-Finland-Sweden trifecta to defend its gold medal from last winter.Here’s the rundown from Monday’s New Year’s Eve showdown.