Ice Hockey

Russia thrash Finland to seal Channel One Cup triumph

Hosts finish top of the round-robin tournament in Moscow with Sweden second despite closing defeat to the Czech Republic.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Russia ended their Channel One Cup ice hockey tournament in style on Sunday (20 December), beating Finland 5-1 to take victory in Moscow.

A win in regulation time would have seen the Finns take the title, but the hosts were in clinical mood.

Captain Vadim Shipachyov - who won gold with Olympic Athletes from Russia at PyeongChang 2018 - opened the scoring before 20-year-old forward Dmitri Voronkov netted twice to put Russia 3-0 up midway through the second period.

Voronkov, who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 NHL Draft, currently plays for KHL side Ak Bars Kazan.

Finland pulled one back through Harri Pesonen before Pavel Karnaukhov shot into an empty net with just over 90 seconds to go and Andrei Kuzmenko - with his third goal of the tournament - gave the scoreline an even more emphatic appearance.

Kuzmenko, who plays for SKA Saint Petersburg, now has 10 goals in 17 appearances for the national team.

Sweden took second place in the tournament despite a 4-1 defeat in their final game to the Czech Republic.

This was Stage Two of the Euro Hockey Tour featuring the four teams with Russia also winning last month's Karjala Cup in Helsinki.

Russia rampant after tight opener

Thursday's opening two games in Legends Park were the closest in the tournament with Finland edging the Czechs 4-3, Otso Rantakari's power play goal midway through the second period proving decisive.

Pontus Aberg gave Sweden the lead against Russia in the second period of their clash, but the hosts led twice before Emil Larsson's equaliser made it 3-3 and sent the game into overtime.

After no score in the extra period, eight rounds were required in the subsequent shootout with Andrei Kuzmenko, who had already regulation in normal time, netting the winner.

It was very much deja vu for the Swedes who also went down in a shootout to Russia in Helsinki last month.

In Saturday's second round of matches, Russia withstood early pressure before running out comfortable 4-1 winners over the Czech Republic.

Kuzmenko was on the scoresheet again, making it 2-0 inside the first 10 minutes after Anton Burdasov's opener.

Lukas Sedlak pulled one back but Maxim Mamin found the net twice in the third period to seal the win.

Sweden defeated Finland 4-1 in Saturday's other game, a result which helped them secure second place in the tournament.

For Russia, without their NHL stars and some of their bigger home-based names, this was an opportunity to impress head coach Valeri Bragin before he selects his squad for May's IIHF World Championship in Belarus and Latvia.

The four nations will do battle again in the Beijer Hockey Games in Stockholm from 11-14 February.

The final stage of the four-stop Euro Hockey Tour is the Carlson Hockey Games in the Czech Republic in mid-May, a week before the start of the World Championship.