COMTOIS COMPLETES CANADIAN COMEBACK IN U17 WIN OVER RUSSIA
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Maxime Comtois (Ste-Martine, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) was the overtime hero, scoring 1:06 into the extra period to help Canada Red to a wild 4-3 win over Russia in the Group B finale Tuesday night at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Comtois parked himself in front of the Russian net early in overtime, and got some piece of himself on a Walter Flower (Lunenburg, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL) point shot to help it past netminder Maxim Zhukov for the game-winner.
The Canadians finished the preliminary round atop their group, setting up an all-Canadian quarter-final against Canada Black on Thursday afternoon at North Peace Arena (2:30 p.m. MT).
Russia’s loss means it finished third in Group B, behind the Canadians and Finns, and will travel to Dawson Creek for a quarter-final against the Czech Republic on Thursday night (7 p.m. MT).
The first period was all Russia, as it jumped out to a big, early lead.
Dmitri Samorukov opened the scoring at 15:21, tipping a shot up and over Canadian goaltender Kyle Jessiman (Châteauguay, Que./Cape Breton, QMJHL), and Klim Kostin finished off a two-on-one down low just 11 seconds later for a quick 2-0 advantage.
Ivan Chekhovich pushed the lead to 3-0 at 17:06, knocking a centering pass behind Jessiman.
But the Canadians started to claw back; Jordan Bellerive (North Vancouver, B.C./Lethbridge, WHL) jammed the puck past Russian netminder Maxim Zhukov on the power play with just 42 seconds left in the first period, getting a little momentum back on the Red side and igniting the pro-Canadian crowd at North Peace Arena.
Brett Neumann (Toronto, Ont./Erie, OHL) had the lone goal of the second period just past the 13-minute mark, beating Zhukov from in close, sending the Canadians to the intermission down just a single goal.
The offensive push continued in the third, with Red outshooting the Russians 11-4, and Joël Teasdale (Beloeil, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) finally got the Canadians back to even at 11:45, sneaking a shot through Zhukov on the power play.
Once the game reached overtime the single point was enough to ensure Red first in the group, but Comtois’ winner sent the crowd home happy and set up what should be a wild Thursday in Fort St. John.