Russian Olympic Committee’s Pavel Karnaukhov (15) scores a goal against Denmark goalkeeper Frederik Dichow (ane) during a preliminary round men’s hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. eleven, 2022, in Beijing.

Russians unhappy despite 2-0 start in hockey at Olympics

BEIJING (AP) — Just because the Russians won their first two games at the Olympics with a couple of shutouts doesn’t mean they’re happy about it.

The defending champions and gilt medal favorites in the men’s hockey tournament take scored but twice against an opposing goaltender. Their 2-0 victory Friday against overmatched Denmark featured an empty-netter and a concerning lack of law-breaking from a team that should accept no problem scoring.

“We won two games, simply I am not happy how we play offensively,” charabanc Alexei Zhamnov said. “We’re not controlling the puck, nosotros don’t have traffic in front of the net and too much play around. That’s why perhaps we don’t score so many goals. Adjacent games is going to be tougher because teams are going to be ameliorate and better, then we have to be set up for this.”

The Russians wrap up the preliminary round Sunday confronting the Czech Republic and will be one of the peak seeds in the knockout circular if they win that game in regulation. The Czechs are certainly a footstep up in difficulty level from Switzerland, which the Russians beat 1-0 Wednesday, and Denmark, then the faster the goals materialize the better.

Forward Stan Galiev said he and his teammates need to manage the puck better and brand information technology more difficult on opposing goaltenders to generate more than quality scoring chances.

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“We take to score more,” Galiev said. “Nosotros try to do a couple beautiful passes, extra passes. We’ve got to shoot more and get the pucks on net.”

The Russians — competing equally ROC, brusque for Russian Olympic Committee, because of a massive state-sponsored doping operation dating back to the 2014 Sochi Games — are averaging more than 30 shots a game. Frontwards Mikhail Grigorenko said the power play, which is 0 for 8 so far, needs to go going, while his motorcoach wants to see improve try.

“We want to make sure our forwards start working in offensive zone because defensively we play good, only offensively we not outset good playing,” Zhamnov said. “Our frontward accept to be better in offensive zone if you want to win games in the future.”

Beating Denmark was a matter of talent disparity. Denmark captain Peter Regin said: “Russian federation is a amend team than u.s.a.. That is only facts.”

Such slow starts are common for Russian teams in international tournaments, and Regin is bullish on their chances of making some other deep run to a medal.

“I think they’re the favorites to win,” he said. “I recollect they have the best team on paper. All of them play in KHL, top guys that could play in the NHL if they wanted, and a phenomenal goaltender. I call up they have all the ingredients to go all the way.”

That astounding goaltender is Ivan Fedotov, who has not been tested much but has stopped all 49 of the shots he has faced. The Philadelphia Flyers 2015 7th-round choice has been the Russians’ best player so far.

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“Our goalie played actually expert,” Grigorenko said. “It’due south really important to have your goalies play well.”

In other games Friday, Sweden defeated Slovakia iv-1, while the Czechs remain without a regulation victory after chirapsia Switzerland ii-i in a shootout. Republic of finland plays Latvia in the nightcap.

The U.S. and Canada renew their rivalry Saturday. Each team won its opener: The Americans 8-0 against China and Canadians 5-1 against Deutschland.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/wintertime-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Source: https://www.thestar.com/sports/olympics/2022/02/11/russians-unhappy-despite-2-0-start-in-hockey-at-olympics.html