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Russia beats Canada in wild overtime battle for bronze

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TSN.ca Staff
1/5/2013 2:57:40 PM
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Russia beat Canada 6-5 in overtime of the bronze medal game at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia on a dramatic goal by Valeri Nichushkin.

You can catch encore presentations of the game at 1pm et/10am pt and 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt on TSN. The gold medal game featuring Sweden and the United States goes at 8am et/5am pt on the same TSN platforms with encore showings at 3:30pm et/12:30pm pt and 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt.

"Obviously I'm disappointed," said Canadian star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after the loss. "I think all the guys in the room are. We battled hard, but fourth is not what Canada wants."

The bronze medal game featured two teams disappointed they were not competing for gold, but neither side showed any signs of a let-down. It was a hard-fought, wide-open affair from start to finish.

Alexander Khokhlachev opened the scoring just 3:32 into the first period, squeaking a long shot through Canadian goaltender Jordan Binnington. Just 1:15 later, Nail Yakupov buried a one-timer on a powerplay after a pretty passing play to give Russia a quick 2-0 lead over the stunned Canadian squad.

After coach Steve Spott called a timeout to re-group his troops, Canada responded quickly on a powerplay, with Nugent-Hopkins burying a loose puck less than two minutes after Yakupov's strike.

Russia grabbed the momentum back when Kirill Dyakov hammered home a slap shot at 12:06 of the period, giving Russia a 3-1 lead and chasing Binnington from the net. Binnington stopped just two of five shots and was replaced by Malcolm Subban. Though he had started every game for Canada prior to the bronze medal game, Subban had been pulled from the semifinal loss to the United States on Thursday after allowing four goals on 16 shots.

The goaltending changed seemed to spark the Canadians, especially after Subban made a couple of big stops right away. Before the first period was done, Canada cut its deficit to 3-2 when Jonathan Huberdeau buried a rebound after Ryan Murphy's point shot hit the post. It was the second powerplay goal of the period for Canada and capped a crazy opening 20 minutes.

Canada scored its third powerplay goal early in the second period when Mark Scheifele buried a great feed from Nugent-Hopkins to tie the score.

Just 1:07 later, however, Russia beat Subban for the first time when Evgeni Mozer found the net to put Russia back in front 4-3.

With 7:07 to play in the third, Canada's red-hot powerplay connected again when Murphy scored to tie the game at 4-4. That made it 4-for-5 for the Canadian powerplay and Nugent-Hopkins picked up his fourth point of the game to re-take the tournament scoring lead.

The Russian powerplay, however, answered early in the third period when Yakupov notched his second of the game by converting another wide-open back-door pass to put Russia back in front 5-4 with 19:00 to play.

Canada pulled even again midway through the period when Brett Ritchie potted Canada's first even strength goal of the game to even things at 5-5.

Both teams pressed for a late winner, and Canada hit two posts in the final minutes, but regulation time ended with the score still tied.

Nichuskin scored the winner after blowing by Murphy, driving to the net and sliding the puck between the post and Subban's out-stretched skate 1:36 into the extra period.

Russia was playing for bronze in front of their home crowd after falling to Sweden 3-2 in a semifinal shootout. Andrei Makarov got the start in goal for Russia and made 40 saves to get the victory.

Scheifele said the effort was there for Canada, just not the result.

"It was like a roller coaster," he said. "We showed good character coming back, but it was a tough ending."

Spott agreed with that assessment.

"We left everything we had on the table," Spott said. "As hard as we worked today, fourth place isn't acceptable to our country, but we'll have to move on."

Nugent-Hopkins was named the tournament's Top Forward after the United States defeated Sweden 3-1 in the gold medal game.

The Canadians had won a medal in 14 straight World Junior tournaments, and won the bronze medal game 4-0 over Finland last year. Russia lost the 2012 gold medal game 1-0 in overtime against Sweden.



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