A minute and a half span in the first period of tonight’s game between Canada red and Russia had things looking as though the contest was going to be a Russian blowout. Russia went up 3-0, but throughout the game’s final 42 minutes Canada slowly but surely clawed their way back to tie matters in regulation, and win 4-3 in overtime.
The game had no score through 15 minutes of play, but Russia opened the scoring at the 15:21 mark, and scored another 11 seconds later. They weren’t done there as their hard work earned them a third goal in the span of a minute and a half. Before the frame was out Canada was able to respond with one of their own as Jordan Bellerive found the back of the net with 42 seconds to go.
As play resumed in the second Canada still had an uphill battle to work through. Aside from still being down two, after the Bellerive tally the team took two penalties and had to kill off a 5-on-3 which they did successfully. With momentum slowly turning the Canadian way, they drew closer as Brett Neumann scored with 13:06 left.
Canada kept the pressure coming in the final 20 minutes. Russian goalie Maxim Zhukov made a number of big saves, however the game was tied up by Joel Teasdale on the power play.
Not much time was needed in overtime with the teams playing four on four hockey. A shot from Zach Gallant went off the glove of Maxime Comtois for the game winner.
After the game Comtois said the instruction from the bench was to put all the pucks on goal, and hope for something good to happen.
“We said on the bench put pucks to the net. It’s never a good goal in OT. It’s always a bad goal, a tip. I just went to the net, tipped the shot with my glove and it went in,” he said.
Head coach Kris Knoblauch added the turning points in the game were the Bellerive in the first goal and killing off the 5-on-3 early in the second.
“I think there was two big turning points for us in the game. One was scoring the power play goal. 3-0 to 3-1 is a big difference. The second was the 5-on-3 the huge kill there where if they would have scored to make it 4-1 it’s probably a different game. The penalty kill was very important for us tonight as it has been throughout our three wins,” he said.
Canada red matches up against Canada black for the quarterfinals as they finished fourth in group A. That game will be held at the North Peace Arena Thursday afternoon at 2:30. The evening quarterfinal in Fort St. John pits Canada white against Finland at 7 p.m.