Canada reaches WJC finals
Canada advances after a thrilling, awesome match with Russia
It took three hours to decide the team who will challenge Sweden in the WJC gold medal match scheduled for Monday. Canada and Russia put on a show who delighted the 19327 spectators of the SBP Centre of Ottawa, Ontario, with great pace and a game that has been always open to any results. But unfortunately a team had to prevail and the shoot out relay awarded Canada who had the huge merit of tying the game up with only five seconds left on the scoreboard, playing with the extra-attacker.
The game started awesomely in the first few minutes. After a strong play along the boards Stefan Della Rovere sent the puck to Evander Kane behind the net who found Brett Sonne wide open in the slot for the 1-0 Canada. A tad bit unexpectedly Russia fought hard against the disadvantage and managed to tie it up with a great wrist shot by CSKA defenseman Maxim Goncharov.
The typical Canadian tactic of playing hard along the boards worked again later on at the seventh minute as Patrice Cormier outmuscled Igor Golovkov, exchanged the puck with Kane and put it between Zhelobnyuk’s pads for the new Canadian advantage. The hosts lead didn’t last more than twenty seconds as Tokarski allowed a big rebound to Dmitry Klopov who resulted in the 2-2 goal.
The second period started with the teams a little bit more cautious, but midway through the game the Canadians started to control the game – heavily testing the opposition’s goalkeeper – as the Russians got five consecutive penalties and the hosts pressure was eventually finalized by a nice shot by Jordan Eberle from a frontal position.
The third stanza seen Canada up by a goal, but a quick counterattack on the left side by Evgeny Grachev, after a turnover by Canada’s Tyler Ellis, made it 3-3 after only forty seconds.
Three minutes later Russia could count over one of the few man advantages they got in this game, but a positional error by the defenders allowed a breakaway to Angelo Esposito who put it nicely in the back of the net for the new Canadian advantage. What a game.
The disciplined hosts though left to the Russians another double man advantage and once again the Nemchinov team managed to tie it up: after a face-off win in the offensive zone Goncharov gets a shot from the blue line who got deflected in the slot. The puck ended it on Sergei Andronov’s blade who had to do little to do to deflect it in for the 4-4.
The Russians came out strong from the fourth goal and they even managed to score a very important goal with Dmitry Klopov after a furious scramble in front of Tokarski at the fifty-fourth minute on the scoreboard. This goal arrived right on time for Russia with just six minutes to play in the third period. The Canadian reaction was immediate as they put a lot of pressure on the opponents, desperate to get another tie. With just one minute and half to go, coach Pat Quinn called a time-out to pull the goalie and after a bad error by the Russians, who iced the puck seeking the empty net goal, Tavares with great instinct and a bit of luck found Eberle in the slot who handled well the puck, incredibly scoring past Zhelobnyuk with only 5.4 seconds to play in the regulation.
The consequent overtime period has been kind of controlled by Canada as the guests were really tired because of the back-to-back games after the quarterfinals, but despite a clear dominance and some nice puck movement the Maple Leaf could not get really dangerous and the game went to the shoot out.
The first attempt was for Canada’s Eberle, who avoided Zhelobnyuk’s poke check attempt to put it in with a nice backhander. Russia’s reply, entrusted to Dmitry Kugryshev, shattered against the right post. In the second shootout John Tavares scored keeping his team perfect, while Pavel Chernov seen his shot stopped by Tokarski, delivering the victory and the ticket for the finals to the hosts of Team Canada.
The WJC Gold Medal match is scheduled for the next Monday at the local 7.30 PM
Canada – Russia 5-6 OT (2-2; 1-0; 2-3; 0-0; 1-0)
02:02 1-0 B Sonne (Kane, Della Rovere)
05:18 1-1 M Goncharov (Dadonov, Pashnin)
07:04 2-1 P Cormier (Kane)
07:20 2-2 D Klopov (Klyukin)
36:40 3-2 J Eberle (Hodgson, Tavares) PP
40:51 3-3 E Grachev (Filatov)
45:44 4-3 A Esposito (Sonne) SH
46:22 4-4 S Andronov (Filatov, Goncharov) PP2
57:40 5-4 D Klopov
59:55 5-5 J Eberle (Tavares) WG
70:00 6-5 J Eberle
Story added on 4th January 2009 at 23:39 GMT
Story submitted by: Alessandro Seren Rosso.