KHOVANOV GETS OT WINNER TO END FAST-AND-FURIOUS ALL-EURO BATTLE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – In a three-point performance Aleksandr Khovanov saved the best for last, recording the overtime winner 2:47 into the extra frame to give Russia a 4-3 win over Sweden in its opening game Sunday at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Both teams came out with incredible speed and intensity to start the game, which never lapsed. Pavel Gogolev used some of that speed to open the scoring with 5:36 remaining in the first period.
Just after a Swedish penalty expired, Gogolev flew down the wing and sent a low, hard wrister past Swedish goaltender Olog Lindbom to put the Russians ahead 1-0.
The Swedes pulled even with just 1:22 to go in the opening frame; Filip Hållander finished off a nice passing play from Samuel Fagemo, who spun in front of the net to allow Hållander time to get to the crease and tap in the 1-1 goal.
The quick pace continued to start the second period, leading to Russia going ahead for the second time. Khovanov carried the puck in over the blue-line, faked a shot to freeze the defender, then beat Lindbon with a wrist shot to the blocker side.
Tensions rose in the third period and Sweden tied the game with the teams skating at four-on-four, with Adam Bokvist doing the honours.
Just 56 seconds later, Grigorii Denisenko answered back for the Russians, cutting through the crease and sliding it under Lindbom to hand Russia back the lead at 3-2, but Bokvist tied it again, this time with just 4:43 to go, forcing overtime.
The teams traded chances through the first two-and-a-half-minutes of the extra period. But with the Russians enjoying an overtime power play, Khovanov took control.
Biding his time and waiting for a lane to open, Khovanov stayed near the top of the circle before picking his spot high to the glove side of Lindbom to give the Russians their first two points of the tournament.
Both teams are back in action Monday; the Russians will meet Finland (6 p.m. ET) at the John Rhodes Community Centre, Sweden plays in the day’s finale against Canada Red (7:30 p.m. ET) at the Essar Centre.