RUSSIA vs CANADA WHITE
by DAVE PAUL
Tuesday November 4, 2014
By now, anyone evenly remotely connected to the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is aware of what happened in Monday's Russia-Finland game.
Down 4-0 entering the third period, the Russians rallied to score four times -- including twice with their goalie pulled -- to send the game to overtime and, eventually a shootout.
So, despite being up 4-1 over Russia after two periods, Tuesday night at RBC Centre, the Canada White team was taking nothing for granted.
"We know they can be explosive," said Canada White coach Sheldon Keefe, adding the message to his players was to keep working hard until the buzzer sounded to end the game.
It worked, as Canada White held on for a 4-2 win -- the first regulation win of the tournament for this team, which has improved as the tournament has worn on, after getting thumped in its exhibition game vs. USA and its tournament opener against Finland.
"I think we're coming together," said Keefe. "A slow start would be somewhat expected, given that you've got a group of kids that have just been thrown together, but as you go through (the tournament) you discover strengths and weaknesses, and, hopefully, you improve.”
The Russian team actually did dominate the shot clock in the final period, outshooting the Canadians, 14-3, in the third (after having been outshot in each of the first two periods and 21-13 overall after 40 minutes), but there wasn't the feeling that they were overwhelming the Canadian side with great scoring chances.
When the game ended, the Canadian team celebrated a well-deserved, two-goal victory.
Things hadn't started off so well for the Canadian squad on Tuesday night.
Jonathan Ang, of the Peterborough Petes, drew a tripping penalty just five seconds into the game and the Russians capitalized immediately, scoring a power play goal 20 seconds later.
But Canada White shook off that early setback and scored a pair of goals, just 33 seconds apart, midway through the first. Luke Green and Nicolas Hague were the marksmen.
Ang scored a power play goal at 4:18 of the second period (with Sarnia Sting forward Jordan Kyrou picking up his second assist of the game), prompting the Russian team to pull starting goalie Vladislav Sukhachyov and replace him with Maxim Kalyayev.
Canada's fourth goal came later in the period. Kalyayev made a sparkling save in close on a point blank shot from a Canadian forward but, seconds later gave up a bit of a soft goal as David Quenneville flipped the puck past him on a bad angle shot, from the boards.
Samuel Harvey of the QMJHL's Rouyn-Noranda got the win for Canada White.
Following the game, Ang pointed out that the team has come together, despite facing some adversity -- most notably injuries.
Jakob Chychrun is out of the tournament and the team lost another defenceman, Gabriel Bilodeau to injury.
"It kind of sucks for us," said Ang. "But there's nothing we can do about it ... just keep battling through. We played with five D (defencemen), but they did a good job tonight."
These two teams will be in quarterfinal action, Thursday at 7 p.m. Russia faces Canada Red at Lambton Shores, while Canada White will take on Sweden at RBC Centre.
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