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19 Dec, 2008 09:48

Russia beat Finland 4-1 in Channel One Cup

The ice hockey Eurotour has arrived in Russia with the start of the Channel One cup. The opening match of the tournament was held in Moscow, and saw a rousing win for the hosts as they beat Finland 4-1.

The combination of players from the Russian champion Salavat Yulaev and AK Bars should have lead to a fast goal. Perhaps it could have worked in the Karjala Cup where the Finn's performance was less than impressive. But after a disappointing start of the Eurotour at home, Finland changed all but two players on the team and looked more confident.

The guests charged at Aleksandr Eremenko's goal even when a man down. But it was Finland's power play that earned them the opener less than five minutes from the break.

Jukka Voutilainen assisted by Markus Seikola silenced the home crowd.

At the start of the second the Russians found themselves in a 5 on 3. Defenceman Ilya Nikulin's pass found Vitaly Proshkin who was unmarked. The Salavat Yulaev man pierced the Finnish goalie to level the score.

The hosts sent the crowd into a frenzy with several spoilt opportunities.

But with so many chances Russia were bound to score at some point, and it finally happened in the seventh minute of the third period, with the puck being practically pushed in after a scramble near the goalkeeper. This one was awarded to AK Bars forward Danis Zaripov.

Finland still had chances to equalise and the game was pretty even until the final moments. But Russia scored a third through Petr Shastlivy's wonderful execution and at this point the entire sports palace knew it was over. Danis Zaripov put the icing on the cake with a second goal to his name and the fourth for the team.

Russia now faces the Czech Republic on Saturday. That's after the Czechs thrashed Sweden in the day's other game. 6-2 is the final score with the Czechs having been 5-0 up at one point, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl forward Zbynek Irgl getting a double in that victory.