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Kerry Collins, Published April 18 2009

Russia posts win over Finns to reach final

Igor Bobkov hasn’t gotten much playing time with his club team back in Russia. He’s making up for lost time at the IIHF World U18 Championship.

Bobkov shut out Finland by stopping 51 shots to help Russia to a 4-0 victory on Friday at Urban Plains Center.

The win put the Russians in Sunday’s gold medal game.

“Even if I wasn’t getting a lot of playing time, I was still working,” Bobkov said through a translator. “This opportunity came along, and I took it and ran with it.”

In Russia’s last three games – wins over Finland, Sweden and the United States – Bobkov stopped a total of 145 shots.

On Friday, Russia got two goals and two assists from Evgeni Kuznetsov, and Bobkov did the rest.

“There is no question that (Kuznetsov) has shown he’s one of the better forwards here,” said Russian coach Vladimir Plyushchev through a translator. “…(Bobkov) has also really put it all together here.”

Russia’s two goals that came just a minute apart in the second period were more than enough to help the Russians avenge their only loss in the tournament.

Finland beat Russia 7-4 in the opening game of pool play for both teams on April 9.

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, R, Kitsyn (Kuznetsov), 27:37 (pp). 2, R, Kuznetsov (Burmistrov), 28:37.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, R, Burmistrov (Kuznetsov), 18:03. 4, R, Kuznetsov (Kitsyn), 19:07 (en).

SAVES: R, Bobkov 11-17-23—51. F, Ortio 17-14-10—41.

A: 1,551.

Inforum searchword: U18 hockey

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Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com