Russians finish first in WJAC round-robin standings

Russians finish first in WJAC round-robin standings

Steven Ellis15 Dec 2018Steven Ellis»
 

Russia has clinched first place in the round-robin portion of the World Junior A Challenge, defeating the United States of America by a score of 4-3 on Friday in Bonnyville, Alberta.

 
 
 
 

Russia has clinched first place in the round-robin portion of the World Junior A Challenge, defeating the United States of America by a score of 4-3 on Friday in Bonnyville, Alberta.

With the two top teams taking to the ice with the top spot in the standings on the line, there was no question that the game was going to be tightly contested. The Americans would get the first strike, as Trevor Janicke would drop the puck to Ryan O'Reilly just after passing the blueline. O'Reilly would fan on the shot, but still squeaked the puck through the legs of Vsevolod Skotnikov to make it 1-0.

The Russians would have to work a little harder for their first goal, but would find the net first in the second period. At 4:23, Vasily Podkolzin would make a nifty move around a defender before finding Artemii Kniazev, with Kniazev sending a wrist shot past Blake Pietila on the power play to make it 1-1 early in the middle stanza.

But at 17:49, the Americans would strike back. Matt Brown did most of the work bringing into the zone but it would be defenceman Luke Johnson who would use speed and momentum to break in through the middle, pulling off a nice deke before giving USA the lead heading into the final period.

Podkolzin would register his second point of the game less than a minute into the third. after touching the puck just before it crossed the blue line out of the zone. He’d then shoot the puck but just missed the net. Luckily for him, Dimitri Sheshin would get the goal from the right of the American net, tying it up at two.

The back and forth would continue. At 45:11, Luke Johnson set up a streaking Robert Mastrosimone down the ice, with Mastrosimone sending it to Parker Ford to the left of the Russian net before Ford put the puck in the net.

For Russia to win the preliminary round, they would need to prevent the Americans from winning in 60 minutes. A one-man effort by Mikhail Abramov to stop the bouncing disk from making it over the blue line midway through the period would result in a nice wrist shot goal seconds later, one that would tie the game up at three. The Russians would get an empty-netter in the final minute of the game as the Americans needed an extra goal to win the group, giving Russia a 4-3 victory to finish first in the round robin.

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