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Olympics-Ice hockey-Unbeatable Fedotov stars again in Russian win over Denmark


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BEIJING — The Russian men’s ice hockey team has scored just three goals in two games but with Ivan Fedotov doing his impersonation of the “Great Wall” in net the reigning champions have made a perfect start to their title defense at the Beijing Olympics.

After a tight 1-0 win over Switzerland in their opener, Fedotov on Friday again came to the rescue for his team, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), with a shutout performance in a 2-0 victory over Games debutants Denmark.

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While the Russian attack has had difficulty getting into gear, Fedotov has been firing on all cylinders, stopping all 16 shots in the win over Denmark after turning aside all 33 shots he faced against Switzerland.

“I am not happy with how we play offensively,” said ROC coach Alexei Zhamnov. “We are not controlling the puck and we do not have traffic in front of the net.

“There is too much playing around and that is maybe why we do not score many goals.”

The game’s first goal came midway through the second period with Pavel Karnaukhov knocking in his own rebound off the post past Frederik Dichow’s outstretched glove.

That would be all the scoring until Kirill Semyonov put the puck into an empty net near the end of the third period after Denmark pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker.

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GOALTENDING DUEL

Goaltending was also the decisive factor in the Czech Republic’s 2-1 shootout win over Switzerland.

The two teams traded goals in the opening period with Jiri Smejkal putting the Czechs up 1-0 before the Swiss canceled that out with a powerplay tally from Gaetan Haas.

Then for two scoreless periods and an overtime the contest turned into a goaltending duel between Switzerland’s Leonardo Genoni the Czech’s Simon Hrubec.

In the shootout Czech David Krejci was the first to go and was the only skater to beat Genoni and that would be enough as Hrubec turned aside all five Swiss attempts.

“Before the season I did not like them (shootouts),” said Hrubec, after the Czechs collected their first win in Beijing. “I told my goalie coach in Omsk I don’t have the self-confidence for shootouts.

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“I told him we have to figure out how to solve this problem and before and after the practice I had more than 100 and maybe 1,000 shootouts so I drilled them every single day and we found a way to do it.”

In other action, Sweden improved to 2-0 with a 4-1 victory over winless Slovakia. The Swedes got all the offense they would need in the opening period with Joakim Nordstrom, Lucas Wallmark and Max Friberg all finding the back of the net.

Carl Klingberg and Slovakian 17-year-old sensation Juraj Slafkovsky traded goals in the third to complete the scoring. (Reporting by Steve Keating; editing by Richard Pullin and Ken Ferris)

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