ALMATY, Kazakhstan (U SPORTS) – The Canadian men’s hockey team dropped a 4-1 decision to archrival Russia on Tuesday afternoon in the semifinal round of the Winter Universiade tournament at sold-out Almaty Arena.
Team Canada website: http://en.usports.ca/universiade/winter/2017/
Almaty 2017 website: https://almaty2017.com
Live streaming: www.livefisu.tv/
Results, Statistics & Standings: http://www.fisu.net/results/winter-universiade/winter-universiade-2017-main-results
Team Canada’s gold-medal hopes vanished against a familiar foe. Canada and Russia were meeting in the Final Four for the sixth straight FISU Games, including Russian wins in the 2009 final and three semifinals (2001, 2015, 2017) and Canadian victories in the 2007 title match and the 2013 semis.
The Ontario University Athletics all-stars (4-1) still have a shot at bronze Wednesday at 11 a.m. local (midnight EST) against either host Kazakhstan (4-0) or the Czech Republic (3-1), who were facing off Tuesday evening in the second semifinal. Canada has reached the podium 14 times (4-3-7) in 15 previous appearances at the FISU tournament.
The third-place matchup will be streamed live on www.livefisu.tv/.
Playing in front of a raucous pro-Russian crowd, the Canadians had their hands full from the get-go against a powerful roster boasting nine players with KHL experience. The defending FISU champions opened the scoring four minutes and 18 seconds into the first period on the power play and didn’t let up the pressure, finishing with a 34-16 advantage in shots on goal.
The lone Canadian goal, by University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières forward Guillaume Asselin of Quebec City, came with 15 seconds remaining in the contest. Queen’s University netminder Kevin Bailie of Belleville, Ont., kept his team in the game with countless big stops and finished with 30 saves.
“It wasn’t for a lack of effort today, it never will be with Canadian kids. The guys gave everything they had but they played a real good hockey team. Let’s be honest, the Russians came here with a stacked club and it was going to take our best to beat them,” said head coach Brett Gibson from Queen’s. “Unfortunately, the chips didn’t fall the way we wanted them to but it definitely wasn’t for a lack of effort. These kids came to play today. Full marks to our opponents. They’re a great hockey team.
“I just told the guys... It’s one of those things. When you get later in your life, you have things to look back on. When you have an opportunity to bring home a medal for Canada, it’s something you should be motivated to bring back. I know these guys. It hurts right now but they’ll come back ready to play tomorrow.”
Team captain Olivier Hinse, a Concordia University forward from Sherbrooke, Que., echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We stuck to the game plan and we competed until the last second. We all wish the outcome would have been different but we worked hard, and now we have to pick ourselves up for tomorrow’s game. We have to stay tight as a family. We’re a brotherhood in there. I know we’re going to be ready for tomorrow. It’s just going to be another game and we’re going to win a medal for our country.”
Asselin, who has three goals and six points in five games in Almaty, was also proud of his teammates’ effort despite the disappointing result.
“We competed as hard as we could. They’re a very good team, almost a pro team. Those guys play hockey every day. We’ll give them this one, they deserved it. They had our number today. The important thing is we still have a chance to go home with a medal. It’s too bad it won’t be gold, but now we want the bronze.”
Special teams were a factor in the result as Russia went 2-of-7 with the man advantage, while Canada was blanked in six opportunities.
The game was only 26 seconds old when the Canadians were handed their first power play, but the OUA standouts never really threatened over the next two minutes.
For their part, the Russians wasted no time converting on their first opportunity with a man up, opening the scoring at 4:18 on a devastating blast from the point by Stanislav Zabornikov. Bailie was screened on the play and couldn’t react in time.
Canada had two glorious chances to tie things up early in the middle stanza.
First, Slater Doggett cut to the net on a partial breakaway but goaltender Ilia Andriukhov extended his stick just in time to make him lose the puck.
Less than a minute later, Andriukhov lost sight of the puck after partially stopping a high shot from the point and the puck dropped on the red line, where it stayed for a few heart-stopping seconds before being cleared away by a defenceman.
As luck would have it, Russia would double its lead a few moments later, at 6:12 on a superb goal by Artem Osipov. The speedy forward took a pass just inside the Canadian zone and, while shadowed by a defenceman, managed to lift a backhand shot over Bailie’s left shoulder, just under the crossbar.
Tension was high going into the third period and both teams enjoyed their share of time in enemy territory in the first half of the stanza.
With 6:55 remaining, Bailie kept his troops in the game when he stoned Osipov on a breakaway.
Disaster struck for Canada moments later when Michael Moffat and Étienne Boutet were sent to the penalty box four seconds apart, setting up a lengthy Russian 5-on-3.
Russia wasn’t about to miss that chance to put the game away. Sixty-eight seconds into the two-man advantage, sniper Andrei Erofeev made it 3-0 with his fifth of the competition.
Desperately looking for a spark, Gibson pulled his goalie with 1:53 left and Ivan Ivanov scored into an empty cage 26 seconds later.
Asselin broke Andriukhov’s shutout bid with 15 seconds remaining one-timer from the slot.
NOTES: Since 1997, Canada has been represented at the biennial Universiade men’s hockey tournament by each of the three U SPORTS conferences on a rotating basis... The Canada West all-stars captured bronze in 2015 in Spain, giving Canada its 14th medal in 15 appearances at the competition, including gold in 2013 (AUS all-stars), 2007 (AUS all-stars), 1991 (Canadian national team) and 1981 (University of Alberta)... In three previous appearances, OUA skaters have won bronze in 1999 (Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia) and 2011 (Erzurum, Turkey) and finished fifth in 2005 (Innsbruck, Austria).
TEAM CANADA SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times local / 11 hours ahead of ET)
Group standings: STANDINGS
Monday, Jan. 30 (19:30): Canada 6, USA 0
Wednesday, Feb. 1 (16:00): Canada 14, Great Britain 0
Friday, Feb. 3 (12:30): Canada 5, Slovakia 3
Saturday, Feb. 4 (19:30): Canada 5, Latvia 2 (quarter-final)
Tuesday. Feb. 7 (16:00): Russia 4, Canada 1 (semifinal)
Wednesday, Feb. 8 (11:00): Canada vs. Kazakhstan or Czech Republic (bronze)
Wednesday, Feb. 8 (15:00): Russia vs. Kazakhstan or Czech Republic (final)
SCORING SUMMARY (official boxscore: CLICK HERE)
Russia 4, Canada 1
1. RUS Stanislav Zabornikov (4) (Aleksandr Tarasov, Dmitrii Kirillov), 4:18 PP
Stanislav Zabornikov (RUS) interference, 0:26
Pierre-Olivier Morin (CAN) charging, 3:22
Andrei Alekseev (RUS) high-sticking, 8:13
Scott Simmonds (CAN) hooking, 13:30
Dmitrii Kirillov (RUS) hooking, 15:10
Pierre-Olivier Morin (CAN) tripping, 19:59
2. RUS Artem Osipov (4) (Andrei Alekseev, Stanislav Zabornikov), 6:12
Andrei Alekseev (RUS) interference, 13:33
Guillaume Asselin (CAN) high-sticking, 15:27
Mikhail Orlov (RUS) holding, 19:21
Alex Basso (CAN) high-sticking, 19:26
3. RUS Andrei Erofeev (5) (Dmitrii Kirillov, Vladislav Efremov), 14:30 PP2
4. RUS Ivan Ivanov (4) (Nikita Sirotkin, Daniil Ilin), 18:33 EN
5. CAN Guillaume Asselin (3) (Alex Basso), 19:45
Roman Tatalin (RUS) hooking, 3:17
Guillaume Asselin (CAN) roughing, 10:39
Andrei Alekseev (RUS) roughing, 10:39
Michael Moffat (CAN) delay of game, 13:18
Étienne Boutet (CAN) slashing, 13:22
Nikita Sirotkin (RUS) roughing, 20:00
Ryan Van Stralen (CAN) roughing, 20:00
GOALS (by period)
RUS: 1-1-2: 4
CAN: 0-0-1: 1
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
RUS: 9-9-16: 34
CAN: 4-7-5: 16
RUS – Ilia Andriukhov (W, 5-0, 16 shots, 15 saves, 60:00)
CAN – Kevin Bailie (L, 3-1, 33 shots, 30 saves, 59:34)
CAN – Empty net (1 goal, 0:26)
REFEREES: Back Holm (SWE), Lucas Martin (USA)
LINESMEN: Tomas regec (SVK), Patrick Richardson (USA)
About the Winter Universiade
The Almaty Universiade will feature eight compulsory sports and four optional sports. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, cross country skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating and snowboarding. Optional sports: ski jumping, nordic combined, freestyle skiing and long-track speed skating.
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