And just like that, the final day of the 2019 IIHF World Championship was upon us. It was medal day in Bratislava, Slovakia. In the first game of the day, Team Russia beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in a shootout.
The bronze medal game featured five of the six Washington Capitals that participated in this year’s tournament: Dmitrij Jaskin and Jakub Vrana for Team Czech Republic; Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov for Team Russia. (Caps prospect defenseman Martin Fehervary and host country Slovakia were eliminated in the preliminary round).
The first half of the first period was a feeling out period for both teams, but the Russians would finally break the seal with a tally 13 minutes into the tilt. The Czechs would answer just 41 seconds later for a 1-1 tie. Five minutes later the Czechs would dent the twine again making it 2-1 at the first intermission.
Russia would quickly tie the game 39 seconds into the middle frame with a goal from Artyom Anisimov, with the remainder of the period going scoreless. The teams were tied 2-2 heading into the final frame.
After a scoreless third period and scoreless extra frame, Team Russia would take Bronze via the shootout.
Jakub Vrana drew the extra forward position for the Czech Republic. Vrana was a healthy scratch in the quarterfinal game versus Germany and did not play in the first period against Canada on Sunday. Dmitrij Jaskin was dropped from the second line to the fourth line for today’s game against Russia.
For Team Russia, the lineup was essentially the same as it has been for most of the tournament, with the exception of Dmitri Orlov. He was moved from the second line/pair, where he played with Capitals teammates Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, to the top line/pair.
The Russians would strike first with a goal from Mikail Grigorenko 13 minutes into the opening frame. The tally was assisted by Mikail Sergachev.
But the Czech Republic would answer just 41 seconds later with a goal from Michal Repik, making it 1-1 at the 13:41 mark.
The Czech’s would take their first lead with a score from Dominik Kubalik at 18:34 of the first period.
The first period would end with the Czech Republic leading 2-1. Shots on were 9-11 in favor of the Czech Republic. Faceoff wins were tied 10-10, with the Russians having the only power play in the first period. No Capitals made the scoresheet in the opening frame.
The Russians tied the game just 39 seconds into the middle frame with a goal from Artyom Anisimov, making it 2-2. The goal was assisted by Nikita Gusev.
And that was it for the scoring in the middle frame. Shot attempts were 26-23 in favor of the Czech Republic. There were no penalties called in the middle frame. Capitals were kept off the scoresheet in the second period as well.
The third period would go scoreless, with the game remaining tied 2-2.
The Russians would win it in the shootout. Nikita Gusev would pot the game winner. Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for Russia. Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was perfect in the skills competition.
Capitals’ Jakub Vrana was denied in the shootout.
The Czechs outshot Russia 50-36 for the game, including an 18-6 gap in the third period.
The long Czech drought at this tournament continues. The Czechs haven’t won the gold medal since shocking Russia 2-1 in the 2010 final in Cologne, and their last medal of any shade was 2012’s bronze.
With the conclusion of the bronze medal game, all Capitals players are now officially done with hockey for the season.
By Jon Sorensen
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