Feb 13, 2014 10:37 PM by Greg Smith

Varly, Russia Hold On

After having waited patiently for nearly a week for its men's hockey team to take the ice, Russian fans had plenty to cheer about early in their team's opening game against Slovenia.

That's not to say there weren't some tense moments for the host nation as well.

Russia scored two goals in the first four minutes to take an early lead over Slovenia, who was playing in its first Olympics, but had to hold on in the second period before finally pulling out a 5-2 win at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Slovenia cut Russia's leads to 2-1 and 3-2 in the second period before Valeri Nichuskin (Stars) and Anton Belov (Oilers) scored in the third to seal the game for the home team.

Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was making his first Olympic start in net for Russia and didn't see a lot of shots with Slovenia only managing 14 in the contest. He stopped six of eight shots in the first 40 minutes and stepped up his game in the third period by denying all six pucks thrown his way.

This is Varlamov's second Olympics as the Samara native was a backup at the 2010 Vancouver Games but did not play.

Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals), Evgeni Malkin (Penguins), and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for Russia. Ziga Jeglic scored both goals for Slovenia.

Russia will face the United States on Saturday at Bolshoy Ice Dome.



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