Russia: “We are the Champions!”
Russia faced the Finns in the final match of the 78th Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk. It was a worthy conclusion to the competition, with the teams leapfrogging each other into the lead until Oleg Znarok’s Russian team broke away in the last twenty minutes. The match ended with a score of 5:2, making Russia the world’s best national team for the coming year.
The World Cup final was played on the Minsk ice exactly one month after West Group games in the 8th KHL International Kids Hockey Tournament Gazprom Neft Cup, which was won by CSKA Moscow.
The Moscow boys, coached by Valery Cherny, went on from victory in West Group to clinch the Gazprom Neft Cup in Omsk in a hard-fought super final match against the East Group winners Ak Bars Kazan. The single and decisive score, against the best goalkeeper in the Tournament, Shamil Valliulin of Ak Bars, came early in the first time from Matvei Averochkin.
“Our decisive game was very hard, almost like the Russian team in the final against the Finns,” said the striker from the “army boys” team. “But, of course, it was much tougher for them, because all the fans expected them to win. They are real professionals, and we are only beginners. The Gazprom Neft Cup final was our first experience playing in front of thousands of people, and I am really happy that my team coped with it and got the result we wanted!”
— Who do you think stood out in the Russian team in the World Championships final?
“They all did well! The keeper, Sergei Bobrovsky, did a great job and the KHL guys, Ovechkin and Malkin, showed their leadership, putting the puck away just when it was needed! Congratulations to the Russian team for their victory. We have a great team!”
“Of course, we all followed the Russian team games closely for the last two weeks. We cheered them on, got excited and gave them all the support we could,” said Olga Klimkina, mother of the CSKA-2003 player Sergei Klimkin. “Some of us followed it on TV, and some of us were actually there at the stands. The capital of Belarus gave the Russian fans a really warm welcome at the World Cup, and they gave the same welcome to our kids who came to play in the Gazprom Neft Cup. I am really pleased that our boys from CSKA won out: it’s the most prestigious trophy in children’s ice-hockey and the competition was tough. It’s a month now since the Tournament Super Final and it’s great that the Tournament stays alive after the final siren: we regularly visit the website and read about our Tournament opponents and what they are up to. It’s fun to keep up!”