Kazakhstan began their Almaty 2017 Winter Universiade ice hockey campaign in sublime style as they thrashed China 22-0 this evening.
The hosts finished second at the 2015 Winter Universiade, held jointly in Granada in Spain and the Slovakian city of Štrbské, and began their campaign for gold on home ice in perfect fashion.
They took just 90 seconds to virtually win the contest as goals from Alikhan Assetov and Vladimir Grebenchshikov put them in control.
China were unable to gain any foothold in the match and Kazakhstan made it 3-0 inside five minutes as Anton Sagadeyev added his name to the score sheet.
Dmitriy Grents, Vladislav Nikulin, Madiyar Ibraibekov, a second from Grebenchshikov and then two goals from Artem Burdelev ensured the hosts led 8-0 at the end of the first period.
Within seconds of the restart, Burdelev scored his third of the game as Kazakhstan were ruthless in attack and played with such intensity and precision that the Chinese defence were unable to cope with them.
Soon into the second period, it was 11-0 through Mikhail Rakhmanov.
Sagadeyev added his second of the game moments later before Burdelev, emphatic in front of goal throughout, made it 13-0 with his fourth.
Assetov grabbed his second and third goals within minutes of each other before goals from Kirill Savitskiy, another from Burdelev, Ivan Stepanenko, Konstantin Savenkov, Mikhail Rakhmanov, a third from Grents and Yaroslav Yevdokimov completed the 22-0 demolition.
Slovakia were also in terrific form against Great Britain in the first of today’s three matches as they won 9-0.
The Slovaks took an early lead when Radoslav Gabor hit a long range strike which was deflected into the net by by number 18 Edmund Piacka.
Ivan Jakubik then doubled his country’s lead before Tomas Hluch made it 3-0 at the end of the first period.
Piacka then scored for the second time while Michal Pichnarcik added a fifth as Britain had a man penalised for a foul.
Jakub Loydl made it 6-0 in the opening minutes of the third period before two more goals from Jakubik and a single from Hluch completed the rout.
Latvia were victorious in the third and final match of today as they defeated Japan 4-3 in overtime.
Japan took an early 2-0 lead through goals from Shigeki Hitosato and Kento Suzuki.
Not fazed by falling behind early on, Latvia fought back and levelled through strikes from Olafs Aploks and Krists Apsitis.
The Europeans then took the lead as Sandis Grinbergs finished coolly.
Despite having two glorious chances to extend their lead, Latvia were pegged back by Japan in the last five minutes as a goal from Keita Deguchi took the match to overtime.
It would be Latvia who prevailed though as Martins Mezulis scored the golden goal within seconds of the overtime period starting.
As well as three men’s matches, the women’s competition also got underway today.
Similarly to their male compatriots, Kazakhstan were in dominant form as they thumped Great Britain 11-0.
Malika Aldabergenova added two goals to Karina Felzink's opener to make it 3-0 early on.
Galiya Nurgaliyeva soon added a fourth while Bulbul Kartanbayeva, Meruyert Ryspek and Pernesh Ashimova made it 7-0.
Strikes in the third and final period from Anastassiya Orlova, Madina Tursynova, Aida Olzhabayeva and an eleventh from Bulbul Kartanbayeva secured another emphatic win for the hosts.
Canada also got their campaign off to a flying start as they powered past China 9-1.
Two goals apiece from Melodie Bouchard and Jaycee Magwood set the Canadians on their way while goals from Katherine Bailey, Alanna Sharman, Alexandra Labelle, Kelly Gribbons, Rachel Marriott and Daley Oddy secured the win.
China’s Fang Xin scored their consolation goal.