World Junior Cup: Canada-Russia game recap

By Robert Neuhauser
The last game of the World Junior Cup, the Canada-Russia contest, had lots
of future NHL players on both sides. The Canadians and Russians, tied
for the tournament lead before the game were preparing for the contest
which should decide who is better and who will win the whole World
Junior Cup.

Also during the warmup you could see highly talented players. On the
Russian side Nikolai Zherdev wore the C on his jersey for the first
time because Maxim Sheviev wasn’t able to play due to injury. Other
Russian players, mostly forwards, showed glimpses of briliance even
during the warmup. They are alternate captain Vladislav Evseev, Igor
Ignatouchkin, Evegni Isakov or Dmitri Kazionov.

On the Canadian side, Rick Nash, Daniel Paille, Alex Leavitt, Pierre-
Marc Bouchard, Lance Monych and captain Tim Brent were the top
prospects at forward while alternate captain Ian White, Andy Thompson,
Adam Gibson and Kevin Klein were shining at defense. Maxime Daigneault
and Denis Khoudiakov were the starters in goal on their respective

Immediately after the game started it was evident that it’ll be a
high-paced contest with lots of determination and offense. The Canadian
players created the first scoring chance of the game as the Russian
goalie Khoudiakov didn’t make a sure save and Tim Brent could almost
rebound the loose puck. Soon after that Tim had to visit the penalty
box for tripping, but the Canadians didn’t allow any scoring chance
to the Russians.

Tim Brent had his fingers also in the first goal of the game. He received
a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, returned the puck to Bouchard as they
passed the blue line and Pierre-Marc Bouchard fired an accurate wrist
shot which went next to Khoudiakov’s blocker into the net. It was at
4:03 of the first period.

The next Canadian goal came at 6:12. One player from each side was
sitting in the penalty box and the Canadians have put the Russians
into pressure. Jarret Lukin passed the puck to Alex Leavitt who was
standing at the top of the right faceoff circle and Alex fired a hard
slap shot. Another Canadian player in front of the net jumped up and
Konstantin Barulin, who replaced Khoudiakov, saw the puck when it was
already in his net.

Then came a part of the game when the Russians rallied to cut the
margin while the Canadians aggresively forechecked, delivered some
hits and played an intense game. Nikolai Zherdev had a hard time
passing the Canadian defense but his great stickhandling helped him
to test if Maxime Daigneault still focuses on the game. Zherdev was
clearly the top offensive forward on the ice. His teammate Evseev had
also some offensive raids but he was very also useful in stopping
the Canadian attacks and played well defensively.

On the Canadian side, Eric Staal and Rick Nash played a great first
period. Both players showed a perfect vision and their mix of great
skating and stickhandling skills along with tough play around the boards
always meant danger for the Russian net.
But it was Maxime Daigneault who had to bring the puck out of his
own net. At 14:40 Igor Ignatouchkin fired a wrist shot near the right
goalpost and Nikolai Zherdev rebounded the puck behind Daigneault’s

Just about two minutes after the Zherdev’s goal, the Canadians
restored their two-goal lead. With Dmitri Kostouk in the penalty
box for interference, Rick Nash received a nice pass from Adam Gibson
when he was at high speed, splitted the defense and fired a wrist shot
which went over Barulin’s blocker into the net.

69 seconds after that, at 1:50, Nikolai Zherdev scored his second
goal of the game. Anton Babchuk fired a hard slap shot which went high
over the net, hit the boards and returned in front of the Canadian net.
Zherdev was the first player there and he succesfully hit the flipping
puck into the Canadian net. So after the first period the Canadians
were holding a narrow 3:2 lead. Lots of offensive hockey was played
during this period and both sides wanted to outscore their opponent and not
to outdefense him. Tim Brent also played a strong period as this
mobile skater was using his very good stickhandling skills and made
some nice passes and fired two dangerous shots.

At the beginning of the second period the Russian bench became a minor
penalty for too many men and it was the second consecutive game this
happened to the Russians. Denis Khoudiakov was back in the Russian
net and he could be sure that he’ll have lots of work.

At 3:43 he gave up the first goal, scored by Rick Nash, but it was
Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s play. The Chicoutimi forward went into the Russian
zone from the left wing, avoided a hit from the defenseman, but the
defenseman was still able to knock him off the puck in the last second.
Pierre-Marc didn’t give up, took the puck from the defenseman again,
turned around, saw Rick Nash going into a scoring position on the
left faceoff circle and made a perfect pass which landed direct on
Nash’s tape. Nash one-timed the pass which ended over Khoudiakov’s

Just 77 seconds after that the Canadians scored again. Denis Khoudiakov
looked shaky in this game, but this goal wasn’t his fault. Daniel
Paille went into the slot, tried to deke Khoudiakov but was knocked
off the puck. The Russian defensemen weren’t able to fire the puck
away and Maxime Talbot rebounded the loose puck into the net.
The first ten minutes of the second period were offense only and
offensive players had lots of space. Russian captain Zherdev and
Canadian alternate captain Bouchard displayed very good skating
and stickhandling skills as they easily outplayed the opposing

But it was Russian Maxim Krivonojkin who scored probably
the most beautiful goal of the game. It was at 6:56, Alexei Stonkous
passed the puck to Dmitri Kazionov who sent the puck into the Canadian
zone. Krivonojkin was racing along the boards and had the puck on his
stick after he passed the blue line. He was skating from the right
wing and made a curve to the net. Then he looked up, aimed the shot
and lifted the puck right under the crossbar. Surprised Daigneault
couldn’t do anything. Referee called it Vladislav Evseev’s goal, but
it was number 26, Maxim Krivonojkin who scored this beautiful goal.
At 8:39, the Canadian team made use of its dangerous powerplay. Alexei
Stonkous was in the penalty box for interference and Tim Brent took
his position in front of the Russian net. Adam Gibson fired a slap shot
from the blue line and Brent made a perfect deflection, which surprised
Khoudiakov, who had no chance against it.

Soon after that Anton Babchuk made the most beautiful hit of the game.
He saw a Canadian player skating at full speed along the boards, turned
straight to the boards right in time to hit the Canadian with full
strength, face-to-face. It was a crashing hit, both players fell on the
ice and the audience was applauding.

Tim Brent was the first player to receive a major penalty plus a game
misconduct penalty in the game. After a faceoff, he badly slashed
his Russian opponent and broke him almost the wrist. The Russian player
laid injured on the ice for some seconds while Brent went to the
dressing room.

The following Russian two-man advantage (they already were on powerplay)
wasn’t good. Anton Babchuk made some nice passes as a powerplay
quarterback, but the Canadians blocked all shots. So Babchuk tried
to fire some shots of his own but with both of his slap shots he hit
only the Canadian player standing in front of him.

But Nikolai Zherdev scored the goal, finishing his hattrick in only
two periods. Ilya Krikounov won the puck near the right goalpost and
passed it through the crease where Zherdev was standing near the left
goalpost. Nikolai received the pass and didn’t hesitate to shoot the
puck into the almost empty net. After that he could celebrate the
hattrick, but no hats fell on the ice as it isn’t a common thing
in the Czech Republic. It was 6:4 for Canada, the Russians could
still hope in a strong third period and a win.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard froze their chances already at the beginning.
Alex Leavitt passed the puck to Rick Nash who fed Bouchard. Pierre-Marc
stood in front of the Russian net, skated into a better position and
then lifted the puck over Khoudiakov’s glove to give the Canadians
a three-goal lead. Khoudiakov had a bad performance this game and
this goal was his fault. He couldn’t improve his performance with
Rick Nash on a lone breakaway, because the London foward missed the
net with his shot.

At 9:40 it was decided about the winner. The Russian defensemen wanted
to support the offense too much and now there were Jarret Lukin and
Rick Nash alone in front of Khoudiakov. Lukin passed the puck to Nash
who was at higher speed and before Khoudiakov could move to another
goalpost, Rick Nash chipped the puck in. With this goal Nash also
completed his hattrick and now the Russians knew that they can’t
beat the Canadian team.

Alexander Semin was very angry and when the referee called a minor
penalty which he should serve, Semin yelled something at the official
and because he kept on hollering at the referee, he got also a 10-minute
Vladislav Evseev still didn’t give up and made a nice play as he
deked the Canadian defenseman and fired a wrist shot, which ended in
Daigneault’s glove.

At 17:27 there was the last goal of the game. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Rick Nash battled for the puck in the corner, Bouchard won it,
fed Nash who immediately passed it to Derek Meech, who was standing
between the faceoff circles. Meech’s shot went through the screen
and surprised Khoudiakov. The score was set, 9:4 for Canada.

But the exciting game still wasn’t over. The rough stuff was still missing.
But the audience could be more than happy with the action, which
took place with 103 seconds left to play. The play was in the neutral
zone, but everybody looked into the Canadian zone, where the sticks,
gloves and helmets were flying on the ice. Andy Thompson and Vladislav
Evseev were ready for a tough fight. The linesmen couldn’t stop
them and the players were throwing wild punches at the beginning of
the fight. One tried to beat the other one with a series of fast
hard punches into the face and Thompson gave Evseev one punch more.
Then he made use of the situation and both players fell on the ice.
After that Thompson and Evseev were trying to stand up again, but
Evseev caught Thompson’s leg, tried to bring him down to the ice
and stay over him. Thompson could set himself free and he finished the
fight lying on Evseev and tossing some punches into his face. Then
the linesmen went into action and both players went to the dressing
rooms soon with a fighting major and a game misconduct penalty.
The players on the Canada’s bench celebrated Thompson as the winner
of the fight and Andy left for the dressing room with a smile on his
face, red of Evseev’s punches. Vladislav showed his nasty edge and he
wasn’t a clear loser of the fight. He was a tough opponent for
Thompson and he lost only because he finished the fight under Thompson.
It’s great to see that such a skilled player as Evseev isn’t afraid
of dropping the gloves and fighting.
Nothing special happened after the fight and it was clear that the game
will be a 9:4 win of Canada.
After the game Nikolai Zherdev and Rick Nash were voted as the best
players of their teams.

Then the Canadian players could fully celebrate their victory in the
first year of the World Junior Cup. They lost only to Switzerland
and with their aggresive offensive play, determination and overall
skill they are the deserving winners!