ISAEV STARS AS RUSSIA BLANKS FINLAND TO STAY UNBEATEN
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Daniil Isaev earned a 37-save shutout and Pavel Koreshkov scored the winner shorthanded, giving Russia all it needed to take down Finland 2-0 in preliminary-round action Monday at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Through two days, the Russians sit comfortably atop Group B with five points, with one round-robin game to go on Tuesday.
Koreshkov got the winner 12:01 into the first period, with Daniil Misiul in the box for interference. Being a man down didn’t bother the Russian forward, who broke into the Finnish zone and banged the rebound of his own shot past goaltender Kalle Nurmi to make it 1-0.
Russia added some insurance five-and-a-half minutes into the second, as Maksim Denezhkin and Pavel Rotenberg set up Sokolov off the rush for his first point of the tournament.
The Russians came close to extending their lead late in the middle frame, but Nurmi got a little help from a goaltender’s best friend; facing a single Finnish defender on the rush, Grigorii Denisenko rang his shot off the post.
Finland poured on all kinds of pressure in the third period, outshooting Russia 19-4, but Isaev got a little help of his own. Eetu Mäki carried the puck over the Russian blue-line before dropping for Kalle Matikainen, who hit the cross-bar behind Isaev.
The Finns upped the intensity even further, still looking to get on the board. Leevi Aaltonen had maybe the best chance of the game on a clean breakaway, but Isaev made the first save and poked away the rebound, preventing the two trailing Finns from finishing.
Finland finished with a 37-24 advantage in shots on goal, including 29-9 in the final 40 minutes.
Both teams will close out the preliminary round Tuesday. Russia will play Canada Red (4 p.m. ET) at the Essar Centre, while Finland squares off with Sweden at the John Rhodes Community Centre (6 p.m. ET).