Russia Save Face By Edging Canada For Bronze

(photo courtesy of The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)

Hockey’s biggest international rivals found themselves in unfamiliar territory playing each other for a medal that wasn’t gold for the first time ever in World Junior competition. What many expected to be the final game of the 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships had to settle for the third place fixture as both teams failed to get the job done in the semi’s.

Russia came out flying against Canada scoring twice in the opening five minutes, first off a long Alexander Khokhlachev shot that trickled past Jordan Binnington and power-play tally by Nail Yakupov. Less than two minutes later, Canada responded on their first power-play when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins buried a loose puck to cut the lead in half.

Just one minute later, Russia restored their two-goal lead when Kirill Dyakov drilled a shot from the blue-line to chase Binnington from the game having made just two saves on five shots. Malcom Subban would come in relief after being pulled for Binnington against the US on Thursday.

Canada would grab one goal back before the period was up when Jonathan Huberdeau put in their second powerplay tally off a rebound to cap-off a five goal first period. Canada’s dominance on the man advantage continued when Mark Scheifele tied the game five minutes into the second when he slotted past Andrei Makarov.

Unfazed, Russia regained the lead just 1:07 later when Evgeni Mozer found daylight past Subban but the momentum would shift in Canada’s favor once again on the power-play. Ryan Murphy connected from the point to score Canada’s 4th PP goal and tie the game once again heading into the final frame.

Just like in the first, Russia scored early in the third, Yakupov would find the net with his second PP goal to restore the lead yet again. However Canada would not go away and finally found an even strength goal courtesy of Brett Ritchie’s tap-in.

Both teams pushed for the go-ahead goal but timely blocks or posts would come to the rescue of the defenses. 10 goals weren’t enough to set the two sides apart and overtime was needed to see who wanted to go home empty handed least. It would turn out to be 2013 NHL draft eligible candidate Valeri Nichuskin with the best goal of the night when he blew past one defender, came across the goal mouth to stuff it in past Subban for the winner.

The loss sent Canada home without a medal for the first time since 1998, Russia has now medaled 12 times in the last 13 years and improves their overall medal count to 30, most for any country. Below are all the goals including a little taunting by some of the Russian players towards the end.

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