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Russia Defeats Team USA 8-4 at WFC

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Updated: May 10, 2019
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Photo by Adam Troy

The United States Men’s Under-19 Team met Team Russia on Thursday at the Dalplex Fieldhouse in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  This was the second game of their Group C campaign for the 2019 World Floorball Championships.  There was an added element of excitement in the air as a group of Canadian schoolkids came out and cheered for both sides during the match.  It was a great opportunity to showcase floorball to the next generation.

The Russians drew their first penalty inside of the first minute.  Andrei Shavykin was called for high sticking and less than a minute later American defender Carl Eriksson converted with a blistering shot over Russian goalkeeper Daniil Kozlov’s left shoulder.  Team USA had the early lead at 1-0.

Most of the first five minutes were played in the Russian end as the US kept up good pressure and had great energy.  As the period progressed, the game moved back to the end-to-end style of play that the US had seen from Poland with chances at both ends.  However, just before the ten-minute mark, the US lost a turnover at center to Russian forward Timofey Shidlovskiy, who passed it to Vladimir Churkin.  Churkin fired a sweep shot from the slot and netted his first goal to tie the game.

The remainder of the period was played in the US end with Team USA driven back onto their heels by the heavy pressure of the Russians.  Goalkeeper Jonathan Mooney came up big multiple times and the US went to the break tied at 1-1.

The second period opened badly for the Americans.  Russian took the opening face-off and scored 18 seconds later, then followed it up with another goal at 17:36 of the second after US defender Thomas Terhonen took a questionable tripping call at 18:30.  It was the first goal scored against the US on the penalty kill in the tournament, where they have been very strong all week.  Shortly afterward, the US got it back when Oleg Kiselev was called for an illegal hit and the US converted the power play to bring it to 2-3.

The rest of the second period was dominated by the Russians.  The defense kept breaking down and the US committed a number of unforced errors that led to Mooney having to make save after save.  Team USA was able to muster an occasional rally, but even then one of the rallies turned into a counter-attack breakaway that Mooney was unable to stop and the Russians closed the period leading 5-2.

The United States regrouped during the second intermission and came out shooting, ringing one off the crossbar in the first minute of play.  Shortly after that, Eric Dieckelman had a great opportunity in the slot but Koslov was up to the task and stopped the point black shot.  The game flowed back and forth from one end to the other, but the US seemed flat.

Frustration began to build on the US side and at 13:06 Ethan Jacques was called for pushing along the boards.  The Russians converted the power play to go up 6-2.  A short while later the US was confused about a change and were called for too many men on the rink.  Tyler Radichel served the penalty and the Russians made it 7-2 on the ensuing power play.

Coach Joel Olofsson called time out and pulled Mooney to put an extra player on the floor with 5:18 to go.  This put Team USA in a position to apply some pressure and get a few quick shots off but was unable to capitalize on rebounds.  As the Russians regrouped, Mooney came back onto the rink.  The defense couldn’t recover in time for the ensuing rush and Churkin scored for the fifth time in this game, making the score 8-2.

At 3:50 to go, Olofsson pulled Mooney again and the Americans put an extra attacker on the floor.  The Russians tried to break through a couple of times, but there were a couple of terrific blocked shots by Eli Dugan and Eriksson that saved goals for Team USA.  The pressure finally paid off, however, and Eriksson scored with 1:26 to go to bring the score to 8-3.

Mooney returned to the net for the rest of the game and the US found their energy, winning the faceoff and driving straight to the net.  Case Connor took a quick pass in the slot and flipped one over Kozlov, netting his first international goal and bringing the score to 8-4 with 1:15 remaining.  The US kept the pressure up but were unable to score again, and Russia walked away with the 8-4 win.

Best player honors went to Eric Dieckelman for Team USA (his second of the tournament) and Vladimir Churkin received it for Team Russia.  The US plays Japan on Friday at 3 pm Eastern in their last Group C game, with the third seed in Group C on the line.  The winner will face the third seed of Group D, which will be either New Zealand or host country Canada.  You can follow the action on the IFF YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/iffchannel.