RUSSIANS SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN TO BEAT WHITE FOR U17 BRONZE
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Aleksandr Khovanov scored twice, Andrey Svechnikov added a goal and two assists, and Russia claimed the bronze medal at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 6-1 win over Canada White on Saturday afternoon.
It’s the sixth consecutive time the Russians have won a U17 medal; they took gold in 2012 and November 2014, silver in 2013 and 2015, and bronze in January 2014 and this year.
Russia went to work on the power play before some fans had reached their seats, taking a 2-0 lead before the four-minute mark on a pair of man-advantage goals.
Khovanov started the scoring at 3:27, going five-hole to beat White goaltender Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL), and Svechnikov doubled the advantage just 13 seconds later, going straight ahead off the face-off and knocking in his own rebound for a quick 2-0 lead.
Pavel Rotenberg added a third power-play goal in the final minute of the first period, burying a feed from Maksim Denezhkin past Rodrigue, who was replaced by Marshall Frappier (Nepean, Ont./Nepean, CCHL) to start the second after allowing three goals on nine shots.
The Canadians dominated the shot clock in the middle frame, holding a decided 20-8 advantage, but it was Russia that scored first goal of the stanza; Khovanov rifled a shot off the end glass that went off a Canadian skate, off the skate of Frappier and in for his second of the game.
Carson Focht (Regina, Sask./Tri-City, WHL) finally solved Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov on a Canadian power play late in the period, burying the rebound of a Jonathan Tychonick (Calgary, Alta./Penticton, BCHL) shot at 18:03.
White continued the offensive onslaught in the third, racking up 16 shots, but none would beat Miftakhov, who finished with 42 saves; the Canadians had a 43-26 advantage in shots on goal.
Egor Sokolov hit the empty net with four minutes to go, and Aleksei Drobin picked off a pass at the Russian blue-line before racing away and beating Frappier on the breakaway with 1:10 left to cap the scoring.
Svechnikov and Khovanov combined to score 10 of the 17 Russian goals in the tournament; with the gold medal game to go, they sit tied for the lead in goals (five) and points (seven).