It was billed as a match-up between the OHL and Russia, but in the end, it was more like a feud between teammates.
Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion scored three goals - including the game-winner early in the third period - to help Team OHL double his Battalion teammate Evgeny Grachev and the Russian Selects 6-3 in Game 3 of the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge on Thursday in Guelph.
Hodgson, who also chipped in with an assist, was the OHL’s player of the game while Grachev scored a short-handed goal for Russia and was their player of the game.
“It was a lot of fun,” Hodgson said. “Any time you get an opportunity to play in one of these games it’s an honour and a privilege. I got lucky a little bit there as well - it seemed that luck was on my side tonight.”
Hodgson said that it was a little strange lining up against Grachev after playing most of the season together.
“He’s a great guy - he’s a lot of fun,” Hodgson said. “He’s not what they say in a typical Russian. He jokes with the guys and he’s a great hockey player as well. I didn’t notice before how big he is because I never saw him as competition before. But he’s huge. He’s a great hockey player.”
John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals opened the scoring just 1:40 into the first period and then added a powerplay marker in the second. Hodgson staked the OHL to a two-goal lead with a short-handed effort midway through the first period. Dale Mitchell of the Windsor Spitfires also scored.
Nikita Klyukin put the Russians on the board with a powerplay marker two minutes later and the Evgeny Grachev of the Battalion tied it for the Russians. Evgeny Dadonov gave the Russians their first lead of the game 27 seconds into the second period but Tavares tied the game on a powerplay later in the second.
“It was great,” Tavares said. “Our first two periods weren’t the best but you could see what Canadians are all about. We came out on top because of our heart and desire and to bear down and want to win. It was a great feeling for a lot of the guys and it was a lot of fun tonight.”
Chris Carrozzi of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors started the game for the OHL and surrendered three goals on eight shots. Tyler Beskorowany of the Owen Sound Attack finished the game, turning aside all eight shots he faced.
Alexander Pechurskiy made his first start of the series for the Russians and allowed six goals on 39 shots.
The ADT Canada-Russia Challenge continues on Monday in Niagara (7:00 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet) before moving to the Western Hockey League for games in Swift Current and Prince Albert, SK next week.
It looks like Canada has found a line at the World Junior Championships. Cody Hodgson-John Tavares-Taylor Hall. That would be a fun line to watch in Ottawa. The Russians were up 3-2 at one point. Maybe I am wrong about this Russian club. In the end, OHL pulled away.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)