DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Both Canada East and West failed to win their opening games at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge in Dawson Creek, B.C.
First, Vasili Ponomaryov stunned Canada East by scoring on the power play with 51.9 seconds left in overtime to give Russia a tournament-opening 3-2 win. Then, hours later, American Sean Farrell scored both the tying goal and the winner to lift the United States to a 3-2 victory over Canada West.
With the clock ticking closer to a shootout, Russia's Ponomaryov took a drop pass from Kirill Kirsanov at the blue-line, skated into the middle of the ice before beating a screened Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.) glove side.
That goal secured Russia's seventh straight win against Canada East.
Jeremy Laframboise (Sainte-Catherine, Que.) and Dovar Tinling (Pointe-Claire, Que.) scored for Canada East. Tinling's goal came with just 2:40 left in the third period to force overtime.
“I thought we played really well for 60 minutes," said Tinling
"I felt like we were skating well and playing physical, but obviously got a little unlucky in overtime with the penalty. Other than that, we were right with [Russia] the entire game and I think we showed that we can compete with everyone at this tournament."
Daniil Gushchin and Nikita Kiryanov had the other goals for Russia.
Russian goaltender Yegor Guskov made 29 saves, while Levi turned aside 30-of-33 shots in defeat.
Canada East went 1 for 4 on the man advantage and Russia converted one of three power-play opportunities.
In the tournament's second game, Farrell recorded his first goal with 4:36 left in the second period on a shot from the high slot that fooled a screened Matthew Davis (Calgary, Alta.). Farrell would later score the winner by burying a loose puck in close on an American power play just four minutes into the third period.
Brendan Brisson recorded the other goal for the United States.
Carter Savoie (St. Albert, Alta.) and Brendan Budy (Langley, B.C.) replied for Canada West. Budy has now scored in each of his last two games at this tournament, both against the United States. In his last appearance at this event, Budy found the scoresheet during the 2017 gold medal game in Truro, N.S. — helping Canada West win the title.
Logan Stein made 26 saves in victory, while Davis stopped 36-of-39 shots for Canada West.
The U.S. were 1 for 3 on the man advantage and Canada West scored on two of their four power-play opportunities.
“I think we have come a long way from that first [pre-competition] game," added Canada West head coach Joe Martin (Kingston, Ont.).
"In tonight’s game, we were really good for three quarters of the game and the score shows that. In the third period, we did not really play our game. USA came out really strong and took it to us in the third, but I think we are moving in the right direction. Now we just need to chase that first win, and tomorrow will be a big game for us.”
Both Canada East and West will look to avenge these losses when they face off in an All-Canadian showdown on Sunday night (5 p.m. EST).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2019.