SVECHNIKOV LEADS RUSSIA TO BRONZE WITH RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE
JASON LA ROSE
BONNYVILLE, Alta. – Andrei Svechnikov scored a hat trick and added an assist, sparking Russia to a 7-4 win over the Czech Republic and the bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge on Friday night.
The three goals give Svechnikov the single-tournament goal-scoring record with eight, surpassing the previous record set by Belarus forward Siarhei Drozd in 2008, and his 12 points leave him even with current Chicago Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz, who first set the single-year mark in 2013.
Russia won bronze for the fourth time in tournament history – joining 2006, 2009 and 2014. It is the fourth-consecutive year the Russians have left the World Junior A Challenge with a medal.
Svechnikov did not waste any time getting the scoring started, picking off an errant Czech pass in his own zone and racing away before going to the backhand to beat goaltender Jan Ruzicka at 6:21.
Denis Mikhnin doubled the advantage at 9:49, finishing off a set-up from Nikita Anokhovskiy, but Radovan Pavlik got one back for the Czechs just over three minutes later, streaking down the right wing before beating Russian netminder Daniil Iakovlev.
Svechnikov added his second of the period to restore the two-goal advantage, powering in from the left of Ruzicka before pulling the puck to his forehand to beat the Czech goaltender.
Petr Kvaca replaced Ruzicka to start the second period after he allowed three goals on 15 shots.
The Russians continued to pour on the offence, scoring three more times before the midway mark of the middle frame, started by an Ivan Klepko goal less than three minutes into the second.
Alexey Lipanov scored on the power play to make it 5-1 at 5:57, ripping a wrist shot past Kvaca from the slot, before Svechnikov finished his hat trick with the record-setting goal, spinning away from a Czech defender behind the net before beating Kvaca to the post on a wraparound.
Kristian Reichel scored late in the second period and David Kvasnicka added a power-play marker early in the third to get the Czechs back within three goals, but Ivan Chekhovich finished off a 2-on-1 set-up from Svechnikov for the 7-3 goal midway through the final stanza.
Pavel Kousal netted a consolation goal in the dying minutes for the Czechs, who still managed their best finish ever at the tournament; they had never before reached the semifinals.