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12-26-2012, 03:52 PM
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After those first two shifts by Russia I thought this would be a blowout. Wow...they came out flying. The Slovaks recovered though and played one of the best games I've seen them play at the U20 level in years. I was really impressed with their team commitment to a great agressive containment and counter attack game. Also, Nagy was fantastic. You can't deny that Russia is talented. A few too many individual plays this game where more passing was warranted. I thought before the tournament that Grigerenko and Kucherov would be far more vital to Russuan success than Yakupov and today it showed. They are a better tandem than whoever Yakupov will play with through the tournament. Russia has a history of sputtering a little out of the gate at U20. They are still a co-favorite and will only get better. Anybody taking them lightly or writing them off is a very big fool.

It's too bad Slovakia is in a group with Canada, Russia and USA, since their chance to advance is low, but I hope they keep it up. No junior hockey program has taken as much of a hit in the past decade as Slovakia and it was very encouraging seeing them play like this. Slovaks should be very proud of their team after that effort.

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