Ronan Quemener stood on his proverbial head Thursday evening in Chelyabinsk, stopping all 45 shots coming his way to ensure that his Bleus could pull out a surprising 1-0 overtime win over Russia, ensuring that France retained the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
It was Quemener who put on a clinic, opposite Russian keeper Ilya Sorokin, that kept the game scoreless for over sixty minutes. Despite a relatively low-shot first period (6-5 in favour of France), the Big Red Machine exploded with offense in the latter two thirds of the game, unloading 14 shots in the second period (to France’s 6) and 22 in the third (to France’s paltry three). Whether it was on the power play (which Russia had five consecutive chances on), a breakaway attempt by Pavel Kraskovski, or even a missed empty net chance by Anatoli Golyshev, the Russians simply could not get on the board.
And it was not until extra time that the score broke, but at the expense of Sorokin, not Quemener. A harmless looking 2-on-2 break by Les Bleus into the Russian zone set up the winner, with Damien Fleury using Russian defender Vladislav Gavrikov as the perfect screen, wiring a wrister past a blocked Sorokin for the game’s only tally, 2:38 into overtime. Quemener earned his well-deserved shutout with a spectacular 45 save performance, giving the underdog French squad the surprising victory.
With the victory, France retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their ninth title, which they won four days ago from Switzerland in Cergy-Pontoise. France now leapfrogs Germany to move into tenth all-time in the IHLC rankings, winning their 20th game in 58 games all-time. This marks just the third IHLC showdown between France and Russia in history, and the first since 1994, with Russia winning both previous matchups; this is also the first IHLC matchup to be held in Chelyabinsk. These two will meet again on Saturday in the two-leg finale, with both sides looking to take the IHLC into the next leg of the Euro Hockey Challenge.
12:03 – PEN – Blazhiyevski, boarding
19:32 – PEN – Shumakov, tripping
28:47 – PEN – Dame-Malka, tripping
31:52 – PEN – Janil, elbowing
43:25 – PEN – Besch, high sticking
46:47 – PEN – team, too many players
59:55 – PEN – Gutierrez, interference
62:38 – GOAL – Fleury (Manavian)
W: Quemener (45-45)
L: Sorokin (16-17)
SHOTS ON GOAL
6+6+3+2 = 17
5+14+22+4 = 45
Goaltenders: Ronan Quemener, Sebastian Ylönen. Defence: Nicolas Besch, Olivier Dame-Malka, Kévin Hecquefeuille (A), Jonathan Janil, Antonin Manavian, Damien Raux, Teddy Trabichet. Forwards: Maurin Bouvet, Valentin Claireaux, Stéphane Da Costa, Teddy Da Costa, Floran Douay, Damien Fleury (A), Romain Gutierrez, Maxime Lacroix, Loïc Lampérier, Laurent Meunier (C), Jordann Perret, Sacha Treille, Peter Valier.
Goaltenders: Emil Garipov, Ilya Sorokin. Defence: Zakhar Arzamastsev, Artyom Blazhiyevski, Yaroslav Dyblenko, Vladislav Gavrikov, Bogdan Kiselevich, Andrei Mironov (A), Mikhail Naumenkov, Igor Ozhiganov. Forwards: Sergei Andronov (A), Anatoli Golyshev, Yegor Korshkov, Pavel Kraskovski, Maxim Mamin, Valeri Nichushkin, Stepan Sannikov (C), Maxim Shalunov, Sergei Shumakov, Andrei Svetlakov, Ivan Telegin, Vladimir Tkachyov.