CALGARY – A chance for gold in the World Junior Championship will not be in the hearts and minds of Team Canada this year. After playing into a huge deficit, Canada roared back in the 3rd period but ultimately found themselves on the losing side. The 6-5 Russian win was everything you could ask for in a classic semi-final matchup between the two hockey powerhouses. This marks the second year in a row that Team Canada has been ousted by Russia.
Canada did not make it easy on themselves as they played behind the entire game. Russia opened the scoring with a goal by Kuznetsov 7+ minutes after the opening face-off. The Russians increased their lead later in the period with a goal from Nikita Nesterov and ended the first period with a 2-0 lead. The second period started on a good note for Canada as they quickly found the back of the net with a goal by Brett Connolly. The celebration did not last long as Kuznetsov scored less than 2 minutes later to make it a 3-1 game. Russia continued to pour it on as they left the second period with a score of 5-1.
As the fans watched their home team fall, many believed that the game was over. However, Canada came out with purpose in the 3rd and quickly tallied four goals after giving up the sixth Russian goal to Nikita Kucherov. With less than five minutes to go in the period, the once out of reach game became a waterfall of tension for the Russians as Canada began to throw everything at Andrei Makarov – who replaced Andrei Vasilevski following Canada’s fifth goal. Despite ending up with 56 shots in the game, Canada could not find a sixth goal as the final seconds ticked away.
This game places a new chapter in the Russia-Canada rivalry as Russia will move on to play Sweden in the Gold Medal game. One of the main shorelines will be how Canada mounted a comeback following a game misconduct from Boone Jenner and a penalty filled second period for the Canadians. Both Jenner and Jonathan Huberdeau could face harsh criticisms for their combined penalties.
Russia – 24 Shots, 51 Saves, 16 PIM
Canada – 56 Shots, 18 Saves, 55 PIM
Scoring Leaders of the Game:
Yevgeni Kuznetsov – Russia – 4 points (3 Goals, 1 Assist)
Nail Yakupov – Russia – 4 points (4 Assists)
Brendan Gallagher – Canada – 3 Points (1 Goal, 2 Assists)
Doug Hamilton – Canada – 2 points (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
Penalty Leaders of the Game:
Tanner Pearson – Canada – 2 Minors (Roughing, Hooking)
Boone Jenner – Canada – 1 Minor, Game Misconduct (Spearing)
Jonathan Huberdeau – Canada – 1 Minor, 2 Misconducts (Slashing)
Artyom Sergeyev – Russia – 2 Minors (Roughing, Hooking)
lldar Isangulov – Russia – 1 Minor (Elbowing)