Canada scored two power play goals in the third period and added a late even-strength marker to separate themselves from a determined Russian team and eke out a 6-3 win in their opening game of the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday afternoon.
Canada defenseman Ryan Ellis, appearing in his third tournament, was named Canada’s player of the game on the back of his one-goal, seven-shot effort.
Russia’s Maxim Kitsyn opened the scoring on a tipped shot from Yuri Urychev less than four minutes into the first period. Buffalo Sabres draft pick Marcus Foligno answered for Canada on the power play with less than three minutes to play in the third period, evening the score at one.
The second period saw a flurry of goals, with four being scored in a short 6:17 span. Canada started by taking its first lead 10 minutes into the frame when Ellis banked a shot from the point off the end boards. The shot bounced off the boards, hit Russian netminder Igor Bobkov in the back of the skate and trickled into the net.
Just 1:16 later, the Russians tied the score on a goal by Nikita Dvurechenski, but a little more than three minutes after that Florida Panthers draft pick Erik Gudbranson wired a one-timer from the point on a pass from Quinton Howden that beat Bobkov to give Canada its second lead of the game, 3-2.
Not to be outdone, Danil Sobchenko got the Russians back on even ground with a power play marker less than two minutes later. Despite Canada’s 28-20 shot advantage after two periods, the two rivals found themselves locked in a 3-3 tie.
The Canadians pulled away in the final frame with two power play goals in 2:28 by Ryan Johansen and Brayden Schenn. A tripping penalty to Sergei Kalinin and a slashing penalty by Anton Burdasov opened the door for the Columbus and Los Angeles draft picks to take advantage, while St. Louis draft pick Jaden Schwartz picked up a helper on both goals.
With the game out of reach for the Russians, Canada’s Curtis Hamilton fired a one-timer off an offensive zone faceoff with 27 seconds to play to give Canada a 6-3 lead that held up as the final score.
The Canadians were 3-for-5 on the man advantage, while the Russians scored once in their three attempts. Canada finished with a 42-27 shot advantage.
With the win, Canada has a 1-0 record and is tied with Sweden atop Group B after the Swedes beat Norway 7-1. Russia sits at 0-1. Canada plays next against the Czech Republic Dec. 28, while Russia will lineup against Sweden on the same day.