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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Team Canada Red had a chance to finish in first place in their pool but couldn’t hold a lead as the Russian’s stormed back to a 5-3 win.
Matvey Guskov of the Russian’s opened the scoring 1:32 into the game as his shot beat the Canadian goaltender. Egor Afanasyev and Aleksandr Chernyi had the helpers. The home side tied it at 1-1 forty four seconds later as Ryan Suzuki potted a rebound from Xavier Parent. Nick Wong had the other assist. At 7:32 Xavier Simoneau found the back of the net after a beautiful feed from Bowen Byram to give the Canadian’s the lead at 2-1. Not even a minute later Mitchell Russell pulled a Houdini act and somehow transferred the puck from the corner past a confused Russian goaltender, to make it 3-1. The Russian’s got one back just before the first intermission thanks to Ilya Nikolaev who snuck a shot past the Canadian netminder. Daniil Gutik and Vasily Podkolzin had the assists on the 3-2 tally.
The Russians grabbed the lead from the home side in the middle frame after tying it at 3-3 at 9:14 after Ilia Mironov blasted one from the point past a screened Canadian netminder on the man advantage. Vasily Poskolzin and Daniil Gutik both collected their second helpers of the contest. A minute and seven seconds later Egor Spiridonov found the net on a shot from the slot to make it 4-3. Oleg Zaitsev had the lone assist.
The Russian’s controlled most of the play in the final frame until they took a penalty with 1:45 left in the game. The Canadian’s worked the puck around until Ryan Suzuki rang it off the crossbar. Canada Red kept possession and work it back to Suzuki in the same spot, except this time he rang it off the post. The Canadian defender broke his stick in a battle for the puck along the boards which allowed Oleg Zaitsev to ice the game for the Russians with the 5-3 empty net goal.
Tommy Da Silva made 38 of 42 saves while Vsevolod Skotnikov stopped 31 of 34 shots.
Canada Red finished 0 for 7 on the power play and allowed one goal on four times being shorthanded.
Oleg Zaitsev, Vasily Podkolzin, and Daniil Gutik each had two points apiece.
Canada Red assistant coach Luke Pierce said, “I was pleased with the way we played tonight even though we lost. It was a battle out there as many of our players are wearing ice packs. That’s something that we have been preaching since the first game, and I think we are a totally different team compared to the loss versus Finland.”
Canada Red captain Peyton Krebs talked about their upcoming matchup with Canada Black in the quarterfinals on Thursday and how they’re are phased with the loss to the Russian’s, “We played good hockey tonight, unfortunately, we gave the Russian’s the chance to come back which they did. We know what to expect with Canada Black, we are excited about the upcoming game and we are looking forward to it.”
Russian forward Egor Afanasyev said, “We knew we could come back after being down going into the second period. We were very amped up for this game, and our told us that we can win this game during the first intermission, we believed in each other.”
Looking forward to Russia’s next game versus the Czech Republic, head coach of Team Russia Vladimir Filatov said, “It will not be an easy game, it never is. We played them a lot during as preparation for this event and never took them lightly. They have a good team and we will need to bring a good game in order to win on Thursday.”
In Dawson Creek, Team Canada Black lost a close one to the American’s 5-4 as they finish second in pool A.
The American’s dominated play throughout the game but Canada Black opened the scoring at 14:20 of the first period as Sasha Mutala fired home a power-play marker from Kirby Dach and Matthew Robertson. As the Canadian’s held a 1-0 edge going into the first intermission.
4:13 into the middle frame Dach would score on the man advantage to give the Canadian’s a 2-0 lead. Tag Bertuzzi and Massimo Rizzo got the helpers. The American’s chipped into the lead as Cole Caufield scored at 16:09 off a pass from Matthew Boldy. The American’s outshot the home side by a 31-11 margin after forty minutes of play but trailed 2-1 after forty minutes.
The American’s came out firing as Boldy tied it up 4:43 into the third off a dish from Alex Turcotte. Just over two minutes later Alex Turcotte gave the visitors the lead 3-2 after a power play marker. Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield were the setup duo. Forty-two seconds after that Judd Caufield found the net to make it 4-2. Michael Gildon had the lone assist. At 10:39 Cole Caufield lit the lamp to make it 5-2 as Domenick Fensore and Alex Vlasic had the helpers. Canada Black made it interesting as Tag Bertuzzi scored on the power play at 11:29 off a pass from Massimo Rizzo and Kirby Dach to make it 5-3. With just over three minutes to play, Dawson Mercer found the net to make it 5-4 with Alex Newhook and Maxence Guenette being the setup par, but that was as close as the home side got.
Kirby Dach had 3 points for Canada Black while Cole Caufield had a pair of goals and an assist for the American’s.
Nolan Maier made 43 of 48 saves for Canada Black. Spencer Knight of the States stopped 14 of 18 shots.
Canada Black went 3 for 4 on the power play and only gave up one of six chances for the States.
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