Thoresens go home. Now it is Francois’ turn

Why should we be happy? Because we defeated Norway? Guys, we’re not even in the finals yet, said Oleg Znarok, exhausted by the game. In the mixed zone he suggested the journalists not to overestimate the importance of our win over the Vikings. It is clear, that for our hockey squad these Olympics will begin the day after tomorrow, when we will play against the Czech team, which beat the USA students in a series of shootouts   today. But the fact remains – for the first time in 12 years we will be participate in the semi-finals of the Olympic Hockey tournament. After all, who cares how the Znarok’s team got there! Only the result will stay in memory.

Before the match agains the Norwegians the most difficult thing was to find an intrigue in it. All the statistics raised by the journalists proved that we had defeated Norway, always and everywhere. For example, at the Sochi Olympic Games in 1/8 finals the score was 4:0 with the double of Alexander Radulov. Of  those present that game must be remembered by Pavel Datsyuk (three assists) and Ilya Kovalchuk (a goal).

Within the past four years, the Norway squad has not been joined by new super talented hockey players . For many years their play has been built on the SKA forward Patrick Thoresen and his brother Stephen who joined the national team. And their father, Petter Thoresen, coaches the Norwegian squad. Wicked tongues would have said that the team is like a mom-and-pop store!

Торесены едут домой. На очереди Францоуз. Изображение номер 1


Joking aside, the only thing the rival could bank on was a three-day dead time of the Red Car. When the car stays in the garage for a long time, you need to warm up the engine. It took our guys almost nine minutes. The score was opened by the Fourth-Link Forward Mikhail Grigorenko with a cool throw over the shoulder of the former goalkeeper of Dinamo Minsk Lars Haugen.

– The plan was simple – to turn on maximum speed of and make a lot to shots, confusing the rival’s goalkeeper. The Norwegian team spent a lot of energy in the match against Slovenia the day before. It was necessary to use it,  Ilya Kovalchuk explained.

In turn Oleg Znarok admitted that his team the did not benefit from the three-day rest. It is better not to have such pauses, said the mentor. The team was off the pace and some things were done wrong. What exactly? I will tell it only to the players.

Probably, Znarok didn’t like the second period. With the score 3:0 (Nikita Gusev and Vyacheslav Voynov also scored their first goals in Korea) in the OAR team showed signs of laziness and self-confidence. The Norwegians sensed this mood changing quickly. Bonsaksen (the defender) scored one goal, taking advantage of Koshechkin’s mistake.

And then our special crew took the situation under control. Sergei Kalinin and Nikita Nesterov finally calmed down the fans and the RIHF President Vladislav Tretyak, who began to think about moving from the Olympic Park to the Kwandong Hockey Centre, where at the same time our women’s hockey team played against the Finns for bronze.

Торесены едут домой. На очереди Францоуз. Изображение номер 5


Eventually, Tretyak preferred to watch the quarterfinals up to the end and in the third period witnessed Telegin’s first assist. It is uncommon when in such a productive match the goals are scored by different players. Moreover, for all six of them it was the first goals on tournament.- Today the guys did a good job. Those of them, who have never scored before did it today. They need it for confidence. Now let the Czechs rack their brains trying to guess, who our main sniper is,  said Kovalchuk.

That may be so, but, in my opinion, the answer to this question is obvious. With all due respect to Telegin and Grigorenko.

Nikita Nesterov was terse.

– We do not track personal statistics. The main thing is that the team won. I hope we will continue in the same spirit.

Торесены едут домой. На очереди Францоуз. Изображение номер 9


In the semi-final we will play with the Czech Republic, which came there thanks to Paul Francois, the goalkeeper Chelyabinsk Tractor. Thanks to him, the team of Josef Andace took first place in the group, having defeated Canada in shootout. And today the Czechs sent the Americans home in the similar way. Francois has an unusual style of play. We will surely consider it, when preparing for a match, Znarok confirmed.

Interestingly, that as Josef Jandac started coaching the Czech Republic, it became a convenient opponent for us. Six matches-six victories, including the quarterfinals at the last year’s World Cup 3:0.

Znarok has not even smiled, when journalists reminded him of this statistics.

– Do not compare the Olympics with other tournaments. Here, any team can present a surprise. Especially in the playoffs.

The head of our national team must have second sight. A few hours later came the sensation: in the match Sweden – Germany, Germans turned out stronger 4:3. No one could imagine them among the top 4 of the Olympic tournament!