In Moscow, the senior Russian men’s national team played against Belarus in a friendly match ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games. Head coach Oleg Znarok picked the strongest team possible, putting Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Sergei Mozyakin in the first line together. Vasily Koshechkin and Mikhail Karnaukhov were the starting goaltenders.
As expected, Russia made a positive start inside the packed Legends Park. Our players immediately took the initiative against the visitors, testing Mikhail Karnaukhov on a regular basis. Eventually, the pressure resulted in a goal. Kirill Kaprizov escaped his marker on the doorstep, shooting between the goaltender’s pads. In the mood for more, Russia continued crashing Belarus’ net, but the away goalkeeper kept his team in the game.
In complete control of proceedings, the Russian players doubled the advantage four minutes into the second stanza. Kirill Kaprizov was again the hero, bundling the puck over the line at the second attempt. Belarus were beginning to really struggle in the match, as they barely managed to get out of their own zone. Russia captain Pavel Datsyuk increased the lead to three on the powerplay, pouncing on a juicy rebound to shoot into the gaping net. Nikita Nesterov came agonizingly close to a fourth marker, smashing a huge one timer against the crossbar.
Nevertheless, despite trailing by three goals, Belarus weren’t prepared to throw the towel in. The visitors boasted the majority of puck possession in a quiet third period, however they rarely sustained a long spell of pressure. Vasily Koshechkin kept his shutout intact, steering Russia to a confident 3:0 triumph over Belarus!
Russia – Belarus – 3:0 (1:0, 2:0, 0:0)
1:0 Kaprizov (Nesterov, Kovalchuk), 08.31
2:0 Kaprizov (Mozyakin, Shipachyov), 24.21
3:0 Datsyuk (Voynov), 28.42
Goalkeepers: Koshechkin – Karnaukhov
Shots on target: 33 – 10
Penalty minutes: 6 – 10
30.01.2018. Legends Park, Moscow.
Russian Ice Hockey Federation