Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin lead Russia past Slovenia in Sochi
Russians pull away in 3rd period
The Russian men’s hockey team got a little more push back than they anticipated, but they eventually pulled away and defeated Slovenia 5-2 on Thursday in Sochi.
Forward Evgeni Malkin led the Russian attack with a goal and two assists. Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring and added an assist.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Valeri Nichushkin and Aton Belov also scored for Russia. Ziga Jeglic got Slovenia their only two goals of the game.
Russian goaltender Semyon Varlamov was rarely tested, making only 12 saves. Slovenia’s Robert Kristan made 30 saves on 35 shots.
The Russians looked like they were going to run Slovenia right out of the building. It began early when Alex Ovechkin roofed a laser over the right shoulder of Kristan. Russia struck again more than two minutes later when Malkin broke in alone to make it 2-0.
"We started well, got the lead and then we stopped playing," Ovechkin said.
But Slovenia answered back in the opening two minutes of the second period as Jeglic took a drop pass and fired a shot by Varlamov.
Kovalchuk added a power-play marker from the high slot with 2:12 remaining in the second after a feed from Malkin, who was stationed behind the Slovenian net.
It only took Slovenia 1:04 to get that goal back when Jeglic scored his second goal of the game as he raced in alone and clipped the puck by Varlamov.
"We said in our locker room, `We have nothing to lose,"' said Jeglic. "We played a little better and Russia was a little weaker. It's too bad in the end that we didn't surprise them."
However, Russia put the game away in the third period with insurance goals from Nichushkin and Belov.
Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk, who is used to getting a lot of vocal support with the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, called it an "unbelievable" atmosphere.
"I would like to say thank you to our fans," Datsyuk said. "They helped us."
(With files from The Associated Press)