Podkolzin leads way as Russia starts WJAC with win

Podkolzin leads way as Russia starts WJAC with win

Steven Ellis09 Dec 2018Steven Ellis»

A two-goal night for Vasily Podkolzin led the way for Russia on Sunday, opening up the 2018 World Junior A Challenge from Bonnyville, Alberta with a 5-3 victory over Canada East.


A two-goal night for Vasily Podkolzin led the way for Russia on Sunday, opening up the 2018 World Junior A Challenge from Bonnyville, Alberta with a 5-3 victory over Canada East.

Canada struggled right out of the gate, allowing the Russians to score first at 11:27. Maksim Groshev would get the game started with a shot from far out, just getting past the blueline before beating Liam Soulière with a low shot to make it 1-0. Then, at 3:03 in the second, Dimitrii Tiuvilin would make it 2-0 after blowing past Adrien Bisson and Tyler McBay behind the net before getting back up into the slot and beating the Canadian goaltender to double their advantage.

Fortunately for Canada, a shorthanded goal two minutes later would give them some life. At 5:01, Spencer Kersten would steal the puck from a Russian defender and would find Ryland Mosley to his left, with Mosley sending a wrist shot past 16-year-old starting goaltender Yaroslav Askarov to make it 2-1.

But a pair of quick goals from NHL draft star Vasily Podkolzin changed the course of the game. Vasily Podkolzin, a candidate to make Russia's World Junior roster later in December, regained Russia's two-goal lead at 13:36 when he grabbed the puck off of a turnover by the Canadians, backhanding it past Soulière to make it 3-1. Then, on the next shift, the puck would bounce all over the place in front before the potential top 10 pick in June scooped the disk in front of the net all alone before putting it in the net.

Canada would score a quick one in the third to give them some hope. At the 57 second mark, a passing play started by Riley McCutcheon and Kersten would result in Jamie Englebert picking up the rebound in front before beating Askarov, giving Canada a chance.

But quickly in the chippy game, the Russians would regain their three-goal lead. This time, just 50 seconds later, Dmitrii Sheshin stole the puck off of Dustyn McFaul and skated in without McFaul really putting up a fight, deking his way towards the net before beating Soulière for the 5-2 goal.

Canada would get one at 11:16 to shake things up a bit. Englebert would get his second goal of the game after Kersten found him in front of the net, with Englebert wasting no time sending it past Askarov to make it 5-3. 

The Russians will take their opening night momentum into Monday when they play the Czech Republic at 2:00 PM local time. Canada East will have a highly-anticipated battle against their Canadian friends from out west, with puck drop set for 7:00 PM.

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