Russia 4 - Canada 4
Russia battles Canada to 4-4 draw
By Laurence Heinen
It was a nail biter, but Canada remained unbeaten in the Canada-Russia Super Series.
Canada trailed 2-0 in the first period and 4-3 after the second period, but a third period powerplay goal by Sam Gagner (Oakville, ON/London, OHL) drew the Canadians into a 4-4 tie. Canada had several great chances to pull ahead, but were continually stymied by Russian goalie Vadim Zhelobnyuk who finished the contest with 36 saves.
“They’re playing better and better,” said Russian coach Sergei Nemchinov of his players. “I told them that we’ve got to take one game at a time and play every game and give it all every game.”
Canadian coach Brent Sutter, behind the bench once again at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer, commended the Russian squad for putting forth a great effort.
“I thought the Russians played well tonight, I really did - give them credit,” said Sutter, who’s leaving his post as coach and general manager of the Red Deer Rebels to coach the New Jersey Devils this season. “Our team looked a little tired tonight. They got a couple weak goals on us tonight. They deserved to get the tie and we fought like heck to get it.”
Brandon Sutter (Red Deer, AB/Red Deer, WHL) scored in the third period to put Canada ahead 3-2 much to the delight of the home crowd, only to see the Russians score two quick goals to retake the lead.
“He played well again,” said Brent Sutter of his son, who was named Canada’s Player of the Game. “He’s played well this whole series. He hasn’t missed a beat in any game. He’s played well in all three zones. He had a heck of a game again.”
Brandon admitted to being nervous in front of the sold out crowd of 7,000 fans, but that all went away when the fans gave him a loud ovation prior to the puck drop.
“Obviously it being your home town and your home fans it’s nice,” he said. “I definitely had a few butterflies before the game, but once I got out there I felt fine. It’s nice to play in front of the home crowd.”
Like in Game 1 of the Canada/Russia Super Series, Canada fell behind 2-0 in the first period of Game 7 Friday night.
Russia took advantage of an early power play opportunity as defenceman Vyatcheslav Voinov snapped a point shot past Canadian goaltender Steve Mason (Oakville, ON/London, OHL) just 51 seconds into the game.
Later in the period, Mason left his crease to play the puck, but Russian forward Evgeni Bodrov beat him to it, made a quick deke and deposited it into an empty net to put Russia up 2-0.
With 32 seconds left in the opening frame and Canada enjoying a man advantage, forward Kyle Turris (New Westminster, BC/Burnaby, BCHL) dug the puck out of a scramble in front of the net and roofed it over the outstretched arm of Russian goalie Vadim Zhelobnyuk.
Despite trailing 2-1 after the first, Canada outshot Russia by an 11-4 margin.
In the second period, the Canadians battled back to take the lead on goals by Logan Pyett (Milestone, SK/Regina, WHL) and Sutter only to see the Russians score twice before the end of the period to take a 4-3 lead.
First Maxim Mamin wristed a quick shot past Canadian netminder Jonathan Bernier (Laval, QC/Lewiston, QMJHL), who replaced Mason in between the pipes mid way through the second period.
Then, with Russia enjoying a two-man advantage, Alexander Vasyunov snapped a shot past Bernier to the far corner to give the visitors a one-goal cushion once again. Forward Ruslan Bahkirov, who plays for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, drew assists on both Russian goals in the middle frame.
The Canadians quickly tied it up with a power-play goal of their own at 1:32 of the third period when Gagner swatted a rebound past Zhelobnyuk.
Canadian forward John Tavares (Oakville, ON/Oshawa, OHL) finished the game with a pair of assists.
“We definitely wanted to win this one for Brent in his last game here,” Tavares said after the contest. “We worked hard and did the best we could. We’ll be ready for Game 8. We’re going to take that one.”
The series now wraps up on Sunday night in Vancouver, BC with Game 8 (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT).