KOSTENKO STANDS TALL AS RUSSIA TOPS CANADA WEST
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Russia is the first team into the win column at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge, and it has Sergey Kostenko to thank for it. The Russian netminder stopped 32 shots, including 12 in the final period, as the Russians earned a 2-1 win over Canada West in the curtain raiser at Molson Canadian Arena at CUP on Sunday afternoon.
The win evens Russia’s all-time record over Canada West at 2-2 – the Canadians scored victories in 2006 and 2008, while Russia’s lone victory before Sunday came at the 2007 event in Trail, B.C.
From the opening puck drop it was clear Kostenko was going to be his team’s best player, as Russia (1-0) gave Canada West (0-1) the first of its four first-period power plays just seven seconds in.
But the Russians weathered the shorthanded storm and netted the game’s opening goal just shy of the six-minute mark of the first period as Ivan Krasnov took advantage of a bad bounce in front and beat Canadian goaltender Sean Bonar (Delta, B.C./Pennticton, BCHL).
After outshooting Russia 14-6 in the first, Canada West continued to apply the pressure in the middle frame, but instead found itself down two goals after Sergey Barbashev picked the top corner over the glove of Bonar 5:42 into the period.
The Canadian side finally got on the board late in the second period, thanks to a miscue by Kostenko, his only slip-up of the night. With the Russians enjoying a man advantage, Kostenko came out to play the puck, only to see it end up on the stick of Clarke Breitkreuz (Springside, Sask./Yorkton, SJHL), who wrapped the puck into the empty net to cut the Russian lead in half.
The Breitkreuz goal seemed to spark the Canadian offence in the third period, which peppered the Russian goal with 12 shots in the final period, but Kostenko saved some of his best for last, sealing the win.
Not surprisingly, with just three goals scored on 53 shots, both Kostenko and Bonar were named Player of the Game for their respective teams.
Russia returns to action Monday afternoon when they take on Sweden (2 p.m. AT) in the Swedes’ World Junior A Challenge debut, while Canada West will enjoy an off day Monday before facing the Swedes in the Group A preliminary round finale on Tuesday (2 p.m. AT).
|Arena||Credit Union Place||City, Country||Summerside, P.E.I.|
|Month / Day / Year||11/01/2009||Time||02:00 PM AT|
|Canada West (CAN W)||0||1||0||1|
|Russia||1 Sergey Kostenko||On 1/0:00||Off 3/20:00|
|Canada West||1 Sean Bonar||On 1/00:00||Off 3/19:33|
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|
|Player of the Game|
|Russia||1 Sergey Kostenko|
|Canada West||1 Sean Bonar|