Swe­den tops Rus­sia in cup-opener

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

SWE­DEN fended off a late come­back bid from Alex Ovechkin’s Team Rus­sia to win 2-1 on Septem­ber 18 as each squad opened its ac­count in the World Cup of Hockey at Toronto.

Ovechkin thought he had the game-ty­ing goal with 8.2 sec­onds to play in the third pe­riod, but game of­fi­cials ruled it no goal be­cause he bat­ted the puck into the net with his hand.

Video re­view con­firmed the call on the ice.

For Rus­sia, it was a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing to the two-week, eight-team tour­na­ment fea­tur­ing a wealth of top Na­tional Hockey League play­ers.

Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals cap­tain Ovechkin, still seek­ing his first Stan­ley Cup NHL crown at age 31, has had a con­spic­u­ous lack of suc­cess in a Rus­sian jersey in such “best-onbest” events.

He has won three gold medals with Rus­sia at the World Cham­pi­onships, but the event over­laps with the NHL play­offs and does not fea­ture all of the elite league’s top play­ers.

NHL play­ers be­gan com­pet­ing in the Olympics in 1998 and Rus­sia have never cap­tured gold, tak­ing sil­ver in 1998 and bronze in 2002. The Rus­sians were bounced from their home Win­ter Games at Sochi in 2014 in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

With the NHL’s com­mit­ment to mak­ing all top play­ers avail­able for fu­ture Olympics wa­ver­ing, the re­booted World Cup may be Ovechkin’s best chance to prove he can lead Rus­sia to a ti­tle in a tour­na­ment fea­tur­ing the world’s best.

Ovechkin had scored on a wrist shot through traf­fic with 33 sec­onds re­main­ing in the third pe­riod to trim the deficit to 2-1.

Team Swe­den goal­tender Ja­cob Mark­strom, start­ing in place of ail­ing Hen­rik Lundqvist, made 27 saves, and for­ward Gabriel Lan­deskog and de­fense­man Vic­tor Hed­man scored less than three min­utes apart in the sec­ond pe­riod to stake Swe­den to a 2-0 lead.

Lan­deskog net­ted a power-play goal at 10:41, four sec­onds into the man-ad­van­tage.

Hed­man scored off of a feed from left wing Carl Hagelin at 12:52.

In the day’s other game, Team North Amer­ica – made up of un­der-23 play­ers from the United States and Canada – de­feated Fin­land 4-1.

For­wards Jack Eichel, Johnny Gau­dreau, Nathan MacKin­non and Jonathan Drouin scored as the youth­ful team dis­played im­pres­sive speed and skill in their first com­pet­i­tive game.

Team North Amer­ica out­shot Team Fin­land 18-6 in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Goalie Matt Mur­ray’s shutout was lost when Valt­teri Filp­pula scored for Fin­land at 15:53 of the third pe­riod. –

Photo: AFP

Manch­ester United man­ager Jose Mour­inho re­acts dur­ing a rough patch of game­play against Wat­ford on Septem­ber 18.

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