Russians Edge Canada to Advance to Sochi Open Finals

Russians Edge Canada to Advance to Sochi Open Finals

Steven Ellis07 Aug 2017Steven Ellis»

Russia has advanced to the Sochi Hockey Open finals thanks to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Canada on Monday.


Russia has advanced to the Sochi Hockey Open finals thanks to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Canada on Monday.

The first period was completely dominated by the Russians, who took a nice 2-0 lead. It all started five minutes in when Minnesota Wild star prospect Kirill Kaprizov made a very quick spin behind the net, sending the puck out to former Washington Capital Stanislav Galiev. Galiev took advantage of a slight defensive miscue in front and one-timed it home, giving the home team the 1-0 lead.

Then, six minutes later, Russia took the 2-0 advantage. This time, Mikhail Grigorenko got the puck out to Artyom Fyodorov in the slot, with Fyodorov splitting through two defenders to knock it past Canadian goaltender Kevin Poulin.  

But as everyone in hockey knows, two-goal leads are never safe. Canada, who defeated HC Sochi 1-0 on Sunday, took advantage of a power play opportunity by having Maxim Noreau score just as the penalty was expiring, making it 2-1 after three minutes of action in the second. The goal came thanks to some puck movement by Brandon Kozun and Andrew Ebbett around the offensive zone, with Noreau, a two-time Spengler Cup champion with Canada, finally finding the back of the net.

Gilbert Brule likely never expected to play for Canada again after not representing the country since his marvelous 13-point performance back in 2003 at the Under-17's. But at the age of 30 and almost four years removed since his last NHL stint, Brule tied the game up for Canada. At 9:53 in the third, Kozun set up his second goal of the game after the puck bounced around a bit in the slot, eventually landing on Brule's stick and in to knot the battle up for the first time since the opening goal.

The Russians, however, were not looking to back down. At 14:29, Grigorenko got his second assist of the game after feeding Roman Lyubimov in the high slot, with the former Philadelphia Flyers forward beating Poulin glove side for the 3-2 goal, the goal that would give Russia the win.

With the victory, Russia will meet up with KHL powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg in the final of the Sochi Hockey Open on Tuesday, while Canada will focus their efforts to the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov next week in St. Petersburg.

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