Russia started off the World Juniors on a sour note with a 5-3 loss to Canada. The win was a big one for Canada after they disappointed in the tournament last year (finishing sixth overall), but Russia didn’t seem too impressed by Canada’s effort.
Following the game, Russian defenseman Mikhail Sergachev dismissed Canada and said that Russia can beat them all the time due to their stamina late in the game.
"We can beat that team 100% every time. They're only good in the first period. We should have won that game." – Sergachev. #Habs
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 27, 2016
Canada’s speed is one of their best assets, but Sergachev indicates that it’s only a threat in the opening period. As the game wears on, Sergachev believes that Canada slows down which makes them a beatable side. Stamina is always a hot topic in a short tournament, but this seems like a bold claim based on just the opener.
Of course, Sergachev’s comments are loaded in irony considering his team lost to Canada and yet he claims that Canada can be beaten “100% every time.” Russia exited the first period tied up at one – the period Sergachev claims is Canada’s only good period – and then were outscored 4-2 in the final 40 minutes. Canada also tallied 25 shots in the last two periods compared to Russia’s 12.
There’s nothing wrong with a young player feeling confident, but it’s usually better to back up that confidence with some statistical proof (shots, goals or maybe even a win) before making such strong claims.