SOKOLOV SCORES TWICE, RUSSIA BEATS CANADA BLACK
JASON LA ROSE
SARNIA, Ont. – Dmitri Sokolov scored twice, including the game-winner late in the first period, to help Russia to a 5-1 win over Canada Black in Group A action Sunday at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Russians, who have won gold, silver and bronze medals in their last three appearances at the tournament, were offensively efficient, scoring five goals on just 18 shots.
Maxim Bain, Nikita A. Popugayev and Mikhail Mesheryakov also scored goals for Russia. Bain and Mesheryakov also added assists, while Vitali Abramov chipped in with two helpers in the win.
Zach Poirier (Mountain, Ont./North Bay, OHL) was the lone Canada Black goal scorer.
After an early push from the Canadians it was Russia that opened the scoring; Mesheryakov made a pretty cross-crease feed to Bain, who simply had to redirect the puck past Canadian netminder Stuart Skinner (Edmonton, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL) for the 1-0 goal.
Sokolov doubled the advantage with 4:10 left in the first period, hammering a one-timer through Skinner on a Russian power play.
Poirier got the pro-Canadian crowd at the RBC Centre excited 5:24 into the second, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play, with assists going to Pascal Laberge (Sainte-Martine, Que./Gatineau, QMJHL) and Reagan O’Grady (Brampton, Ont./Kingston, OHL), but Popugayev restored the two-goal lead just 59 seconds left.
Sokolov took a no-look pass from Kirill Petkov and snapped a shot over Skinner to make it 4-1 at 12:12 of the third period, and Mesheryakov finished a two-on-one with Abramov at 14:02 for the game’s final goal.
The Russians were lethal on the power play, scoring on two of their three opportunities, while Canada Black went goalless in two chances with the man advantage.
Russia next meets Finland on Monday afternoon in a match-up of Day 1 winners in Group A (2 p.m. ET), while Canada Black faces off with Canada White in Monday’s night cap at the RBC Centre (7 p.m. ET).