It seems that the rumors about the death of Russian hockey are somewhat exaggerated. For six months, young players have won the third big junior tournament – in August the national team of 2002 won the Glinka Memorial, an unofficial junior World Cup, two months later the 2003rd year took the U17 Challenge – also an unofficial, but prestigious tournament. Now it is the turn of 2004, and this victory is important without any reservations – the guys became champions of the Youth Games.
Youth Olympic Games are held for the third time – athletes under 16 take part in the tournament. In 2012, the 1996 players in the final lost to Finland in shootouts (the top scorer of that team was Ivan Nikolishin, who played with Svechnikov Sr.). Four years later, the year 2000, where Svechnikov Jr. was the undisputed leader, took the bronze medals, rather disappointingly losing to the Americans in the semifinals.
Unlike the conditional Universiade, teams bring all the best to the UOI. For example, from the 2000 American team, which won the last Youth Games, 10 out of 17 players went to the UMC by their year, and Oliver Wallstrom has already made his debut in the NHL for the Islanders. From the 1996 Finnish championship in sight Casperi Kapanen, who offended Russia with a golden goal at the MFM, reigning world champion Joel Kiviranta and the Minnesota goalkeeper future Kaapo Kyakhkenen.
True, the tournament formula turned out to be rather strange – only six teams, without Swedes and Czechs, but with the Danes. The Tribune blogger told why the IIHF decided so, and this is very strange – at least eight teams in the tournament had to play.
We are used to the fact that our junior teams go to the incredible goalkeeper game, who beat 40-50 shots, and technical attackers create a couple of moments and realize them. Here, for 4 games of the tournament, our team scored 29 goals, and only Denmark was the passing opponent (received 9 goals). In the semifinals, the Finns conceded 10 goals from Russia and lost on shots 21-40 – and this despite the fact that the matches at the YOI last only 45 minutes (and the deletions here are not two-minute, but one and a half-minute). There was no “overgrowth” in this team – Finns and Americans are both older and larger.
In the final, the Russian team also won without any problems (4: 0, the difference in shots is 26-15) – the Americans foolishly retreated and let our youth play in the majority, and in equal compositions, Russia extinguished rivals by a competent game in a foreign zone, and in terms of technology, our leaders looked much better.
The “base club” of this team is the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv: out of 17 people, five represent the Yaroslavl school. The obvious leader of the national team is just from there – Matvey Michkov at the age of 15 draws attention to himself. Two simple numbers: the 15-year-old Ovechkin scored 41 goals in 32 matches of the Moscow Open, and Michkov at the same age has 36 goals in 15 games at the same OCHM.