RUSSIA SCORES EARLY AND OFTEN, DOWNS BLACK IN QUARTER-FINALS
JASON LA ROSE
MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – Prokhor Poltapov netted a hat trick and added an assist, and Russia scored the first five goals to help it to an 8-4 quarter-final win over Canada Black on Thursday night at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Russians still have a chance to defend their gold medal; they will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals on Friday night (6 p.m. CT) in Swift Current. Sask.
Matvei Nadvorniy scored a pair of goals, and Daniil Lazutin and Nikita Chibrikov added a goal and two assists apiece as Russia took a commanding lead before quieting a comeback attempt by the Canadians.
The scoring started less than five minutes in; Mikhail Berezovskiy rocketed a one-timer from the point past Black goaltender Ben Gaudreau (Corbeil, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) for a power-play goal.
Poltapov doubled the lead before the end of the opening period, driving to the net and poking a centring feed from Chibrikov through the five-hole of Gaudreau.
When Nadvorniy got his first just over three minutes into the second period, finding room from a sharp angle, that was all for Gaudreau; he gave way to William Blackburn (Jonquière, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ) after allowing three goals in 10 shots.
The offensive push continued from the Russians, with Lazutin burying a cross-ice feed from Poltapov on the power play at 8:21 and Poltapov going bar-down on another man advantage at 11:48.
Sean Tschigerl (Whitecourt, Alta./Calgary, WHL) finally gave the pro-Canadian crowd at the Canalta Centre something to cheer about late in the period when he wired a wrist shot past over the glove of Russian netminder Valerii Brinkman, and Brennan Othmann (Pickering, Ont./Flint, OHL) converted on the power play late in the middle frame to give the Canadians a little bit of momentum.
But Chibrikov finished a two-on-one with Fedor Svechkov only 93 seconds into the third period, and every time Black chipped away at the lead in the final frame it was quickly answered by the Russians.
Jayden Grubbe (Calgary, Alta./Red Deer, WHL) found the back of the net twice in the third, but Nadvorniy scored 2:48 after the first goal and Poltapov finished his hat trick into an empty net 1:56 after the second.
The loss means Canada Black will make the trip east to Swift Current to take on Finland in the seventh-place game on Saturday morning (11 a.m. CT).