CANADA EDGES RUSSIA TO FINISH PRE-WORLDS SCHEDULE
JASON LA ROSE
ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, Sweden – Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL) and Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL) scored two goals apiece, and Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team held off a late push to earn a 5-4 win over Russia on Monday ahead of the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship.
The victory finishes off an unbeaten pre-tournament schedule for the Canadians, who downed Belarus 6-5 in overtime on Sunday.
Brayden Tracey (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) had the other goal for the Canadians, who saw a three-goal lead dwindle down to one in the third period before Holloway netted the game-winner.
Tracey opened the scoring for Canada less than three minutes in, but Vasili Podkolzin pulled the Russians even with a power-play marker at 11:35 to make it a 1-1 game after 20 minutes.
Canada dominated the second period, with Cozens leading the charge.
After Holloway restored the Canadian lead at 4:10, Cozens struck twice in the back half of the middle frame, his second coming on a shorthanded penalty shot to put Canada up 3-1 through two.
The Russians came out firing in the third period, peppering Canadian goaltender Taylor Gauthier (Calgary, Alta./Prince George, WHL) with 18 shots, and got within one in the dying minutes off goals from Yegor Spiridonov and Marat Khusnutdinov.
But Holloway counted for the second time with just 2:30 to go, and the Canadians closed out the victory despite a late power-play marker from Rodion Amirov.
Gauthier was terrific between the pipes, making 32 saves. Russia outshot Canada 36-29.
The Canadians are on the ice next on Thursday (1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT) for their worlds opener in Umeå; they face off with Finland to begin preliminary-round play.