|2009 U20 ADT Can-Rus Challenge|
ADT Canada – Russia Challenge Game 2 report
After the first game, the ADT Canada – Russia challenge moves to Saint John for the second match between the QMJHL selects and Russia, who has to find a way to fight better the opponents after the defeat suffered in game one.
Nemchinov's team managed to do that, finishing the second match with a tight victory for 4-3. In this second challenge Russia played much better, not only because a better technique display, but also playing more focus and harder, as witnessed by the 8/8 in penalty killing.
Nemchinov also changed a bit the roster: out Ermolaev and Dubrovsky, for Dmitry Kulikov and Yuri Sheremetiev. QMJHL selects changed goalkeeper, dressing Jake Allen from Montreal Juniors, while Nemchinov sticks with Sergei Gayduchenko. Before of the game a minute of silence has been observed to commemorate Alexei Cherepanov (New York Rangers).
The game started, like game one, with Russia on attack. After only 56" Byron is sent out for tripping Kulikov; Nemchinov's team gets the first powerplay, but doesn't result any dangerous. Four minutes later Kulikov is sent to the sin bin, but it's Russia the team to get a big chance with a quick counterattack led by Yarchuk, but Sheremetiev's consequent shot is blocked by Allen. The teams get back at even strength and Canada gets the first true chance of the game with Dave Labreque, but his shot is wide. The home team insists and puts pressure on the opponents, who succeed to kill the penalty and thus they manage to revert the momentum on their side. It's the fourteenth minute when Nikontsev launches Chernov in the offensive zone, the Atlant player dribbles past a defender in style and with a laser wrister puts it in the back of the net, thus scoring a very spectacular goal.
The first period ends thus with Russia up by a single goal.
After a few seconds in the second period the home team gets back on track: Macenauer skates past Kulikov - his unique error in this game - and after a couple of deflections the puck arrives on Sauve's blade, it's 1-1.
Team Russia seems to hurt a bit Canada's more aggressive play in this start of second period. As a result Khafizulin gets sent out with a minor penalty and the home team has thus an interesting chance, but yet again is Pavel Chernov the difference maker: after a deep forecheck in the zone he serves Nikontsev, who mishandles the puck, but then he picks it up and puts it in the back of the net for the 2-1.
A few seconds after Chenov's second marker Marygin gets a minor penalty after a scramble, but the referees don't send off Alex Grant who actually shoved Yarchuk against his own goalkeeper, the incident that started the little fight. In the consequent powerplay Canada is dangerous again with the usual Grant, but Gayduchenko protects Russia's lead with a nice pad save. When the teams get on even strength Nemchinov's team gets a nice moment in the offensive zone. The puck goes from Chernov (again!) to Pashnin, and from the defender's stick to the back of the net. The score is now 3-1.
But we should know already that Canada never gives up. Less than two minutes later Adam cuts down the score with a great individual effort, but with the blotch of entering the blue area while scoring. The momentum is now on the Maple Leaf side and midway through the second period they get a powerplay when Russia is caught with six players on the ice. The home team cyclates well the puck, but Dadonov gets a loose puck in the neutral zone and catapults towards the goalie who cools out and saves in style. Russia kills another penalty and re-gets back to offense. In the late moments of the third period Chernov gets twice near to the third personal goal, at first after a good pass by Nikontsev - what a game, once again - and then with another great individual effort, but Allen is ready and keeps his team on race.
In the third period Canada attacks head down. The QMJHL selects get dangerous especially with the Esposito line, who personally tries to finalize a couple of good moments, without managing to get past Gayduchenko. Maple Leaf's pressure gets its peak at the eight minute, Pashnin is sent to the sin bin. The hosts have a good chance with Labrie, but Gayduchenko saves yet again. Very good game by the Florida draftee tonight, differently from the first challenge. Russian penalty killers seem in very good shape and kill yet another powerplay. Canada pushes the gas, but at the sixteenth they leave a quick counterattack to Russia and get punished. Kugryshev flashes puck on the blade in the offensive zone and serves Klyukin on the left of the goalie. His shoot comes rejected, but the rebound is picked up by Dadonov, free to score Russia's fourth marker. But it's not over yet: Canada wins the faceoff, Grant, with a great cross ice pass, serves Byron who reopens the game with a very good wristshot.
Canada tries hard to tie it up, but the Russian defense closes all the spaces and can celebrate a really deserved win.
MOVING ON UP:
Pavel Chernov: the surprisingly undrafted center has played a great match, not only scoring two goals, but also adding an helper, being constantly a threat for the opponent defense and contributing in Russia's 8/8 in the penalty killing.
Anatoly Nikontsev: for the second consecutive match he is among the best players on ice. He didn't score this time, but he ended with two points. At the current time he's probably the Russia's best kept secret.
Dmitry Kulikov: at his first game with this team he played a very good game offensively, contributing with one assist. He confirmed to be a very mature player for his age and he's a candidate for a first round pick in 2009. On the defense he made an error in occasion of Canada's second goal, but nothing else.
Evgeni Dadonov (Florida Panthers): another solid match. He's playing constantly well also at his home club, Traktor Chelyabinsk, and he's likely to take an important spot at the next WJC.
Sergei Gaiduchenko (Florida Panthers): thirty saves and a W in the stats say enough. But we should add that he had a couple of highlight reel saves too.
Dmitry Kugryshev (Washington Capitals): he's another player who has really progressed after a bad game one. He inspired the game winning goal and led the team through many dangerous moments. He should pass the puck more and involve more his line mate, but he's developing into a very good player.
Sergei Nemchinov: after game one's defeat, he managed to change the team's approach to sensationally shut out the dangerous Canadian powerplay to end with an 8/8 in the PK, really a rare performance for Team Russia usually.
Andrei Konev: after a good game one he's kind of disappeared. It's not always bad for a defenseman, but he's supposed to be an offensive defenseman, and he didn't produce tonight.
Sergei Ostapchuk: like Konev, he's disappeared after a not bad game one. He must try harder if he wants a spot in the next WJC team.
- By Alessandro Seren Rosso for RussianProspects.com