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Kovalenko scores shorthanded game-winner

Kovalenko scores shorthanded game-winnerNikolai Kovalenko notched his first World Juniors point in spectacular fashion, scoring the eventual game-winner against the Czechs shorthanded.

Three Avalanche prospects were in action yesterday in one of only two games played on the third game day of the 2019 IIHF World Juniors. Forward Martin Kaut and his Czech countrymen squared off against their Russian counterparts, including defenseman Danila Zhuravlyov and forward Nikolai Kovalenko, with the latter scoring the game’s eventual game-winner, as Russia held on to a 2-1 win.

The game was marked by penalties on both sides, with the Russians ultimately using their lack of discipline to their advantage, scoring twice on the PK. Artyom Galimov scored the first of Russia’s pair of shorthanded goals with less than 3 minutes to go in the opening frame, while Kovalenko added the second one after a quick break with 5 minutes left on the clock in the second period. The Czechs answered less than a minute later, as David Kvasnicka’s point shot hit Jachym Kondelik in the face and fell in behind Russia’s Pyotr Kochetkov, with the latter being credited for the bizarre tally. Despite cutting the lead to one, the Czechs failed to jumpstart their offense and were handed their first loss, while the Russians stay perfect after two games.

 Kaut and the Czechs fall to third in Group A, with the Swiss only trailing them by one point (Source: Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Kovalenko’s first World Juniors point came with quite a scare, as he tripped over Lukas Dostal’s pad after scoring and fell headfirst into the boards, remaining visibly shaken on the ice for a few seconds. The 19-year-old later had the opportunity to seal the game with an empty-netter, but his shot was blocked by the backchecking Filip Zadina. Kovalenko saw a significant increase in ice-time, playing more than 18 minutes, and was named Russia’s player of the game. Zhuravlyov only played over 15 minutes after averaging over 20 minutes in Russia’s tournament opener, which could be attributed to his omission from special teams. Kaut shared led the Czechs in TOI together with linemate Martin Necas and had two solid chances, but was denied on both occasions and finished the game -1.

 Kovalenko was named Russia's player of the game (Source: Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

The Russians will get a day off, while Kaut and the Czechs will be back in action tonight against the hosts with fellow Avs prospect Shane Bowers.

Yesterday’s results:

Czech Republic – Russia 1:2 (0:1, 1:1, 0:0) [Martin Kaut and Danila Zhuravlyov both without points; Nikolai Kovalenko – 1 point (1+0)]

Kazakhstan – USA 2:8 (1:4, 0:3, 1:1)

Today’s schedule:

Denmark – Switzerland

Slovakia – Finland

Canada – Czech Republic

Sweden – USA

Michal Hezely, Slovakia,
29/12/2018 - 17:00


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