FeaturedWorld Junior Championship

Team Canada Loses Tough One to Russia; Fails to Win a Medal

Team Canada laid it all on the line in their bronze medal game against Russia, but in the end they came up short and lost 6-5 in overtime. After beating Russia earlier in the round robin, Canada may have had a slight edge going into this one, but both teams had the players to win. Canada spent the whole game trying to catch up with the Russians and that ended up costing them a medal.

First Period: Both teams started the game cautiously, with neither team wanting to give up a goal and fall behind. The Russians were the first to break that mold, with a seemingly harmless shot from Alexander Khokhlachyov, beating Jordan Binnington. Binnington came in for starter Malcolm Subban against the Americans and stayed in-goal to start for Russia. But that wouldn’t last long. Only a minute and a half after Khokhlachyov’s goal, Nail Yakupov scored on a powerplay to give Russia a quick 2-0 lead. Suddenly Canada was in the same spot as they were early against the US and Coach Steve Spott had to burn his timeout less than five minutes in to calm his team down.

And it worked, for a little bit anyways. Canada got back in their groove and began to play like a team again. When they got onto the powerplay, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made no mistake, picking up a rebound and firing it into the goal to cut the Russian lead to 2-1. This was Hopkins first of four points in the game and he played the way an NHL star would. Still, Canada was always trailing or tied with Russia, never securing the lead for themselves.

Russia scored their third goal only one minute later and it was the end of Binnington. In only eight minutes of hockey, Binnington gave up three goals on five shots and Canada had to bring back Malcolm Subban. It was looking bad for Canada, but Subban was up for the challenge, with a few big save early. He was always the guy in-goal for Canada and he ended the tournament strong.

The scoring wasn’t over in the first either. Back on the powerplay for the third time, Jonathan Huberdeau shuffled in a rebound from a Ryan Murphy shot to bring the score to 3-2. It was one of the wildest first periods of the tournament and it ended with both sides looking out of sorts, yet still very much in the game.

Second Period: Canada’s powerplay continued to be hot in the second, but they still couldn’t get the lead. Only three minutes in, on their fourth powerplay, Mark Scheifele picked up a pass from Hopkins and shoved the puck past the goalie to tie the game at three. After looking terrible on the powerplay earlier in the tournament, the man advantage suddenly was the best part of Canada’s game.  But as the clip shows, less than a minute later, Team Russia came back and scored another goal to go up 4-3. Subban was fooled by the first shot, which was blocked, and was out-of-place when the second shot came. He probably could have had it, but it wasn’t the easiest play.

Of course the lead didn’t really bother Canada. This time it took them eight minutes, but as soon as they got back on the powerplay, Canada had no problem tying the game. Ryan Murphy scored this time, on a one-time slapshot from the point, some how finding its way through bodies to the back of the net. Murphy was a defensive liability in every game, but this goal (his third point of the day) showed why he was a 12th overall pick. To quarterback the powerplay and to help the team take advantage of the opportunity. Which they did four times in this game.

The period ended with the teams tied 4-4. Canada had lots of chances, including one where Jonathan Drouin missed the net on what would have been a goal. Canada also had some undisciplined play, when Ryan Strome going off for hooking with only seconds left in the period.

RusCanBronze
UFA, RUSSIA – JANUARY 5: Members of team Russia celebrate a first period goal as Canada’s Jordan Binnington #31 looks on during bronze medal action at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship.
(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Third Period: Canada may have had a good powerplay, but the Russians’ wasn’t bad either. Yakupov got his second powerplay goal of the game early on the Strome minor after the Canadian defense broke down and turned the puck over behind their net. Xavier Oullet turned the puck over to Kirill Kapustin who had no problem feeding Yakupov.

Canada was now chasing again, and time was running out. The teams traded chances and the game went back and forth without a whistle for close to five-minutes. Morgan Rielly showed why Toronto drafted him fifth overall, leading a rush that saw Ty Rattie get Canada’s best chance. And putting Russia on their heels so that Canada could score on the next shift. This time it was Brett Ritchie, with his first of the tournament, who slid the rebound past the goalie to tie the game at five. It was Canada’s first non-powerplay goal of the game, and with 10 minutes left, it put Canada in a good spot to clinch the bronze.

The period ended with more chances on both sides. Back and forth they went, each team trying to avoid overtime, while still scoring the winner. But as the clock wound down, it was clear overtime would be the way it was settled and the pressure fell onto Canada. Their defense would need to be solid to stop the continuous Russian offense. Their stars would also need to get chances and take advantage of the wide-open ice to score the game winner.

Overtime:  Overtime was done in 1:30. After Boone Jenner had a strong rush and Dougie Hamilton was robbed by the Russian goalie, the Russians came back up the ice, with Valeri Nichushkin sneaking past Murphy before tucking the puck into the far side past Subban. Russia won the bronze, and for the first time in 14 years, Canada was going home without any hardware.

 

Josh Beneteau
Hockey has always been a passion of mine and once I realized I would never make it as a player, I still wanted a career in the sport. With my writing, I get to be a part of the sport I love, safely in front of a laptop screen. I am currently studying journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto and I hope my degree and my many writing experiences lead to a successful career in the field.
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