While hockey players of the KHL and NHL are preparing for the new season, future stars of the leading world championships appear in Slovakia at the Glinka / Gretzky Cup. This tournament annually gathers the best young athletes not older than 18 years old, as a result of which he received the title of the unofficial world championship among juniors. The current draw attracted special attention, because in the final of the fans there was a classic confrontation between hockey players from Russia and Canada.
As one of the most titled countries in the history of hockey, the Russian national team is regularly ranked among the main favorites of the championship in Breclav and Bratislava. At the moment, it is domestic athletes who occupy second place in the unofficial team standings and have 16 medals of various denominations. At the same time, in the 21st century, they never managed to please their fans and return home with gold - the last success dates back to 1995.
It is also impossible to say that recently Russians have been regulars in the struggle for gold. Over the past 11 years, domestic juniors only reached the finals twice, while three times they were not able to leave the group at all.
In light of this, even before the finale, the performance of Sergey Golubovich’s squad could be regarded as supersuccessful. The Russians without special problems overcame the group stage, having experienced minor difficulties only in the battle with the Slovaks. The main time of the meeting ended in a draw, and its outcome was decided only in overtime, where the forward of the youth of Dynamo Moscow Bogdan Trineev became the author of the exact shot.
At the same time, matches with representatives of the world’s hockey elite were dictated by the young players of the Russian national team. So, the US national team was defeated with a score of 6: 2, and Sweden, although it conceded less, was unable to hit Yaroslav Askarov's goal - 3: 0.
The semi-finals were no exception. Strong and uncompromising Finns opposed domestic athletes there, the style of which is traditionally considered uncomfortable for Russians. However, wards Golubovich confidently prevailed with a score of 4: 1.
The main character of this meeting was Alexander Pashin, who not only scored a hat-trick, but also established himself as a team leader at this championship. A small forward of only 172 centimeters in height was unstoppable on ice and did everything possible to attract the attention of scouts from the NHL. Next year, he will be able to run for the NHL draft. Until now, he was prophesied a place closer to the end of the first hundred, but now he can claim the first round.
Undoubtedly, this is facilitated by the high performance of the striker from the “Salavat Yulaev” system, who in four matches chalked up five goals and one assists. This allowed him to take second place in the list of snipers and third in the ranking of scorers. At the same time, only Canadians Cole Perfetti (7 + 2) and Hendrix Lapierre (3 + 5) were ahead of him.
It is all the more remarkable that in the final, Pashin was to meet his counterparts face to face. The national team of Canada once again confirmed the status of an indisputable favorite of the Glinka / Gretzky Cup and for the 25th time reached the decisive meeting of the tournament. And this despite the fact that Alexis Lafrenier, who many consider the future first draft number of 2020, did not come to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
However, the opponent’s regalia did not have any effect on the psychological state of the Russians. Already in the fourth minute, the wards of Golubovich forced their opponents to lose the puck in the middle zone and carried out a striking counterattack. Vasily Ponomarev made a transfer to Pashin, who shot the goalkeeper of Canadians Dylan Garand.
Of course, in the match with the most titled team in the history of competitions, the Russian team did not have to wait for an easy victory. Canadians brought down a flurry of attacks on Askarov’s gates, and at the beginning of the second period restored the status quo. It took only 25 seconds for the “Maple Leaves” to realize the majority for the removal of Nikita Buruyanov. Quinton Byfield, who claims to be the second draft pick, scored a goal. Connors McClennon and the same Lapierre acted as assistants.
This failure did not break the Russians. They instantly seized the initiative, and five minutes later they stepped forward. Ponomarev again fought great for the puck, but this time he did not rely on partners and he realized his moment. Forward “Wings of the Soviets” rolled out from behind the gate and masterfully beat Garand.
Up to the middle of the final segment of the meeting between the teams, there was a stubborn struggle, until Pashin again spoke his weighty word. This time, Alexander, together with Pavel Tyutnev, organized a sharp counterattack, which he himself completed with an accurate throw. Forward chalked up the seventh puck in the tournament and caught up with Perfetti.
Canadians would not be 22-time winners of the competition if they surrendered without a fight. Five minutes before the final siren, Jean-Luc Foody reduced the backlog and provided a tense ending. For the remaining time, “maple leaves” besieged Askarov’s possessions, but the goalkeeper survived and brought victory to his team. The Russian team interrupted the 24-year series without victories and became the four-time winner of the Glinka / Gretzky Cup.