POWER PLAY LEADS CANADA TO WIN IN PUCHKOV OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Taylor Beck (Niagara Falls, Ont./Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, KHL) paced the offence with two goals and an assist, and Canada’s National Men’s Team opened the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov with a 5-1 win over HC Sochi on Tuesday.
It’s the second win for Canada over Sochi in nine days; it posted a 1-0 overtime victory on Aug. 6 in the opening game for both at the Sochi Hockey Open.
The power-play was key for the Canadians, who got man-advantage goals from Beck, Jonathan Matsumoto (Ottawa, Ont./EHC München, DEL) and Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Man./EHC Biel-Bienne, NLA) in a span of nine minutes to pull away late in the second period and early in the third.
Beck opened the scoring at 6:38, keeping on a two-on-one and wiring a shot over the glove of Sochi goaltender Konstantin Barulin, and Sean Collins (Saskatoon, Sask./HC Sochi, KHL) jammed in the 2-0 goal from the side of the net midway through the opening frame.
Canada held a one-sided advantage in shots on goal in the second period, 14-4, but the KHL side got one back on a power play of its own when Ilya Khokhlov hammered a point shot past goaltender Kevin Poulin (Montreal, Que.) at 13:20.
The Canadian power play took over from there; Beck was first at 16:08, walking out of the corner and finding room upstairs on the short-side on Barulin.
Matsumoto knocked in a rebound just 49 seconds later, sending Canada to the second intermission up 4-1.
Micflikier added to the lead five minutes into the third period, getting his stick on a point shot from Marc-André Gragnani (L’Île-Bizard, Que./HC Dinamo Minsk, KHL), providing the final margin of victory.
Canada is right back to action Wednesday (12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT), taking on host SKA St. Petersburg in its second and final preliminary-round game.