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Russia outlasts Slovakia in overtime at 2015 World Championships

Team Russia continued its winning ways at the 2015 World Championships Sunday when it squeaked out a slim 3-2 overtime win against Slovakia.

Russia entered the game three points behind the United States for first place in Group B, needing a win to keep pace and still have a shot at getting top spot in the group. The Slovaks, meanwhile, entered the game a disappointing fifth place in the group, but with a chance of tying Belarus with a regulation win.

And it was Slovakia that drew first blood in the game as Tomas Kopecky scored 5:58 into the first period, with Richard Panik and Vladimir Dravecky drawing assists. Despite directing 12 shots at Slovakian goalie Julius Hudacek – compared to the five Sergei Bobrovsky faced in the opposite end – the Russians were held scoreless in the period.

But, as it has done throughout the tournament, Russia’s tournament-best power play once again proved effective. Sergei Mozyakin struck for Russia’s first goal on its second power play of the game after Milan Jurcina was sent off for cross-checking. Similar to the first period, though, only one goal was scored in the second, sending the game to the intermission in a 1-1 tie.

Vladimir Tarasenko broke the tie for Russia early in the third – though not without controversy. As he entered the Slovak zone, an official found himself in the middle of the high slot, tripping up Jurcina and preventing him from making a play on Tarasenko who scored seconds later. Fortunately for Slovakia Marian Gaborik tied the game up in the last minute to force overtime.

Despite a flurry of chances for Slovakia early in the extra period, it was the Russians who found a way to come out on top. Artemi Panarin grabbed the puck in the Russian end and went cost-to-coast, scoring a goal that was almost underwhelming given the effort he put in to make it happen.

Bobrovsky, meanwhile, wasn’t tested much yet again (facing only 22 shots) but turned in a solid effort – especially at the beginning of overtime – to help Russia to victory. It has been a great turnaround for Bobrovsky who had a rather pedestrian start to the tournament – even though the results didn’t reflect as much.

Russia has a day off before closing out the round-robin May 12 with a tough matchup against Finland at 2:15 p.m. EST. It still has a shot at overtaking the USA for top spot in its group, but needs one of two scenarios to play out: a USA loss in regulation coupled with a Russian win in any fashion, or an overtime loss by the USA coupled with a Russian win in regulation.

The American team also plays its final round-robin game May 12th when it takes on Slovakia at 10:15 a.m. EST.

Andrew DiRienzo
Andrew is a die hard sports fan who follows any and all sports. When he realized a career as an athlete wasn't in the cards he decided to venture into the world of sports writing. Born and raised in Canada's capital, Ottawa, Andrew has a journalism diploma from Algonquin College and an Honours Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Ottawa. In addition to covering college athletics while at Algonquin, he has also covered the Women's World Hockey Championships (2013) and junior hockey.
Andrew DiRienzo
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