DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, B.C./Victoria, WHL) was the overtime hero for Pacific on Saturday night, scoring on a power play 59 seconds into the extra period to give the Canadian side an 8-7 win over Russia in the opening game for both at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Hicketts tapped home a feed from Brycen Martin (Calgary, Alta./Swift Current, WHL) to end a wild game that Pacific led 7-4 early in the third period before the defending gold medallists battled back to force overtime.
Conner Bleackley had a pair of goals for Pacific, scoring twice in the first period to erase an early 2-0 Russian lead.
Reid Duke (Calgary, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL), Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL), Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, B.C./Penticton, BCHL), Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) and Tanner MacMaster (Calgary, Alta./Camrose, AJHL) did the rest of the scoring for Pacific.
Gropp, MacMaster and Point added assists to their goals for two-point nights, while Martin chipped in with four helpers.
The Russians spread around the scoring, with goals from eight different players – Yegor Orlov, Ilya Zinoviev, Nikita Yazkov, Maxim Lazarev, Radel Fazleyev, Ivan Nikolishin and Eduard Nasybullin.
Zinoviev, Lazarev and Fazleyev finished with a goal and an assist each for Russia.
Payton Lee (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) went the distance for Pacific, making 34 saves, while Maxim Tretiak and Maxim Sidorov combined for 20 saves in the Russian net.
The 15 combined goals are the most in a World Under-17 Hockey Challenge game since Quebec beat Slovakia 10-6 in a 2009 preliminary round game in Campbell River, B.C.
Pacific will enjoy a day off Sunday before returning to action against Sweden on Monday afternoon in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while the Russians will face West on Sunday at the Centre Marcel-Dionne (7:30 p.m. ET).
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)