Superlative goaltending by Yaroslav Askarov proved to be the difference as he continually left Team Canada shooters shaking their heads. Not since 1995 had Russia won a gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament.
Russia 3 Canada 2
Canada fell behind early when Alexander Pashin took a drop pass from Vasili Ponomaryov and sniped an absolute beauty 3:45 into the game. The shot beat Dylan Garand far side just inside the post. Garand was in net replacing Tristan Lennox who was feeling the ill effects of a shot from yesterday’s shootout victory over Sweden. Canada trailed 1-0 after twenty minutes.
Quinton Byfield brought Canada even with a powerplay marker 3:03 into the second period. Byfield was able to bury a rebound after Connor McClennon took a pass from Hendrix Lapierre and drove to the net. Russia regained the lead just over five minutes later on a wrap-around goal from Ponomaryov. Russia took a 2-1 advantage to the second intermission.
Pashin, the opportunistic Russian talent, provided Russia with a two-goal lead at 8:38. However, Jean-Luc Foudy with a tremendous solo effort drew Canada to within one. Foudy used his incredible speed to get past a Russian defender down the left boards. He then cut to the net and had the puck deflect off a defender and over the shoulder of Askarov. Canada applied enormous pressure in the dying minutes but Askarov was equal to the task. He committed highway robbery in the final seconds when he denied Byfield from close range.
Despite a terrific tournament Canada had to settle for the silver medal.
Bronze medal game
Sweden 5 Finland 1
Two third period goals by Daniel Torgerson broke the game open propelling Sweden to the bronze medal. It was the third straight time that Sweden has finished in the medals at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Finland has not won a medal since 2012.
Rick Warman is a Vancouver Canucks and prospects contributor for Overtime Heroics. Follow him @statman1956 on Twitter
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