CANADA EDGED BY RUSSIANS IN PRELIM FINALE
JASON LA ROSE
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Cody Glass (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) opened the scoring less than three minutes in, but Canada’s National Junior Team finished a goal short in a 2-1 loss to Russia to close out the preliminary round Monday at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The defeat leaves Canada in second place in Group A ahead of the quarter-finals; it will face either the United States or Finland on Wednesday afternoon (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT) at Rogers Arena.
“I think it’s good adversity for us,” Glass said of the loss. “I’m glad it happened in a round-robin game, instead of a medal game, that’s for sure. We’ll go over the game and be prepared for the quarter-final.”
Just as it had in its first three prelim games, the Canadians started fast; Owen Tippett (Peterborough, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) poked the puck away from a Russian and right onto the stick of Glass, whose quick shot eluded goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov just 2:20 in.
Russia responded three minutes later on the power play when Vitali Kravtsov went cross-ice for Grigori Denisenko, who beat Canadian netminder Michael DiPietro (Amherstburg, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) with a one-timer to tie the game.
The goaltenders took over from there; Kochetkov was at his best in the second period when Canada outshot Russia 13-4, including a left-pad stop on Canadian captain Maxime Comtois (Longueuil, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) that was his best of the game.
DiPietro was the busier of the two netminders in the third, making 12 saves, but Pavel Shen drove off the right wing and beat him to the far side to give the Russians the lead for good with nine minutes left.
Canada had its chances in the dying minutes, including more than two minutes with DiPietro on the bench for an extra attacker, but couldn’t put another puck past Kochetkov, who finished with 30 saves.
“We’re not eliminated,” Canadian head coach Tim Hunter said about what his team can take from the defeat. “We lost a game, we learned a lesson and we move on. That’s the good thing about this tournament – you’ve got time to prepare [for the quarter-final].”
The loss snapped a mini two-game win streak against Russia; the Canadians still own a winning all-time record in head-to-head match-ups – they are 13-11-1 since 1993.