SAMSONOV STEALS SHOW WITH 46 SAVES, RUSSIANS WIN WJAC BRONZE
JASON LA ROSE
KINDERSLEY, Sask. – Ilya Samsonov set a tournament record for saves in a shutout, turning away all 46 shots he faced to help Russia win the bronze medal at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge with a 2-0 win over Canada East on Friday night.
Samsonov broke the old mark held by Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oscar Dansk, who made 44 saves in a 1-0 win over the United States on the opening day of the 2011 tournament in Langley, B.C.
Kirill Kaprizov and Denis Guryanov scored the goals for Russia, which won a medal for the second year in a row (it took silver last year in Yarmouth, N.S.) and the fourth time ever.
Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, N.S./Valley, MHL) had another strong performance in the Canada East goal, finishing with 27 saves. Mann-Dixon played every second of the tournament for the Canadians, finishing with a .909 save percentage.
It didn’t take long for the Russians to open the scoring; Kaprizov toe-dragged into the slot around a Canadian defenceman before snapping a shot past the outstretched glove of Mann-Dixon.
That would be it for offence for the next 49 minutes. Samsonov and Mann-Dixon traded saves, with the Russian the busier of the two – Canada East outshot Russia 16-13 in the first period and 13-10 in the second.
The Canadians came out firing in the third, directing 17 shots at Samsonov in the final 20 minutes, but couldn’t get a puck to the back of the net.
Guryanov added the insurance goal with 6:23 to go, cutting outside on a Canadian defender and wiring a perfect wrist off the far post and in past Mann-Dixon.
Neither team scored on the power play, but neither team was overly busy; Russia finished goalless in three chances, while the Canadians had just a single opportunity with the man advantage.