SYDNEY, N.S. – Aleksandr Zhebelev, with two goals, and Artur Tyanulin, with a goal and an assist, paced the Russian offence in a 5-3 win over Atlantic on Thursday at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Artem Rozhkovskiy and Denis Gurianov had the other goals for Russia.
William Bower (Saint John, N.B./Moncton, LHJMQ), Cameron Lee (Ferguson’s Cove, N.S./Northwood School, U.S. Prep) and Alexandre Jacob (Dieppe, N.B./Moncton, NBPEIMMHL) scored for Atlantic.
Atlantic grabbed an early lead when Bower scored just over two minutes into the game. That momentum was halted when Lane Cormier (Hopewell, N.S./Pictou County, NSMMHL) was whistled for checking to the head and assessed a 10-minute misconduct. Rozhkovskiy batted home a bouncing puck on the ensuing power play. Gurianov gave Russia the lead two minutes later.
Russia scored two times in the second period. Twenty seconds after Atlantic captain Luc Deschênes (Fredericton, N.B./Charlottetown, LHJMQ) hit the post at one end, Tyanulin scored on a shorthanded breakaway at the other. Zhebelev scored from in close later in the period.
With just over three minutes left in the second period, Deschênes received an interference major and game misconduct for a hit that left Andrei Bannikov struggling to get to the Russian bench.
With its captain gone, Atlantic fought back in the third. Lee took a nice pass from Nathan Noel (St. John’s, N.L./Saint John, LHJMQ) to give his team a jolt 17 seconds into the period. Russia restored its three-goal lead late in the period when Zhebelev connected on a one-timer from the faceoff circle.
With Nicholas Welsh (Halifax, N.S./Shawinigan, LHJMQ) in the box for roughing – his third minor of the period – Jacob scored shorthanded to keep Atlantic in the game, but that was as close as it came.
Russia outshot Atlantic 43-30.
With the win, Russia finishes the preliminary round with eight points and finds itself cheering for a United States win tonight. If the Americans defeat Ontario, Russia clinches second place and a spot in Friday’s semifinals.
Atlantic finishes fourth in Group B and will play the fourth-place team from Group A in the seventh-place game in North Sydney on Friday (2 p.m. AT).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)