GAME STATS: Canada 1, Russia 0
EDMONTON, Alta. – Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que./Northeastern
University, HE) continued his run of lights-out netminding with another
shutout, Jamie Drysdale (Toronto, Ont./Erie, OHL) scored the lone goal
early in the third period and Canada’s National Junior Team blanked Russia
1-0 in pre-tournament play Wednesday ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior
Levi turned aside all 23 shots he faced in the Canadian goal, stretching
his shutout streak – including Red-White games at selection camp – to more
than 150 minutes.
“There was a bit of nerves at the beginning of the game, but I got my feet
under me and I just enjoyed myself.”
Drysdale provided the offence less than four minutes into the final period,
taking a pass from Cole Perfetti (Whitby, Ont./at the blueline and letting
go a seeing-eye shot that found its way through traffic and past the
blocker of Russian goaltender Artur Akhtyamov.
“There was a good, quick regroup and a good net drive, and Perfetti found
me as the high guy. There was a good net presence so I just threw it on
net,” the defenceman said. “I kind of saw a little lane and I just did my
best to hit it.”
Through 40 minutes, the game belonged to Levi and Russian counterpart
Yaroslav Askarov, who was perfect in the first two periods before giving
way to Akhtyamov to start the third.
Both goaltenders were tested early, with Canada holding the edge in play in
the opening minutes of the first period before the Russians found their
offensive game late, finishing with an 11-9 edge in shots.
Jakob Pelletier (Quebec City, Que./Val-d’Or, LHJMQ) came closest to opening
the scoring, beating Askarov but not the post, and the goaltender fell on
the loose puck before the rebound could be poked home.
The Canadians picked up the pace in the second, hemming Russia in its own
zone for long stretches without a whistle, but they still couldn’t find a
way past Askarov, who turned aside all 22 shots he faced in his 40 minutes
The netminder is no stranger to most of the Canadians; he backstopped
Russia to gold with an all-star performance at the 2018 World Under-17
Hockey Challenge, then made 35 saves in a gold medal game win at the 2019
Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta./Winnipeg, WHL) had the best chance of the
middle frame on a Canadian power play but was robbed by the left toe of
Askarov from the low slot, and Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge,
WHL) found himself in tight and lifted his shot over the net only a few
Arseni Gritsyuk had a chance to give the Russians the lead late in the
second period, sneaking behind the Canadian defence, but his shot missed
high to the blocker side of Levi.
The Canadian defence clamped down after the Drysdale goal, holding Russia
to just two shots on goal for most of the third period before a late flurry
as it pushed to tie the game.
Canada finished with a 29-23 edge in shots overall.
The game was the first for the Canadians as a team, and the first
competitive contest for most of the Canadian players since the COVID-19
pandemic shut down the hockey world in March.
“I think our players were really excited; we did not want to cross the line
between being excited and getting over-emotional and starting to force the
game,” said head coach Andre Tourigny. “We stayed really focused, we
progressed during the game and improved, and we have a lot to work with.”
Next up is the tournament opener; the Canadians begin preliminary-round
play in Group A on Boxing Day when they take on Germany (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m.