In Moscow, the senior Russian national team took on Canada for the second 2017 Channel One Cup match. Head coach Oleg Znarok made a few changes to the line-up, notably bringing defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin into the third line. Vasily Koshechkin and Ben Scrivens were the starting netminders.
During a frantic first period, Russia’s Vadim Shipachyov received a 5+20 penalty for spearing an opponent. Nevertheless, our players had a decent amount of opportunities to break the deadlock. Maxim Shalunov had the best opening, somehow contriving to shoot wide with the goal at his mercy. Vasily Koshechkin was the busier goaltender though, as he was called into action on a regular basis. Matt Ellison almost scored with a bouncing effort, but the loose puck was swept off the line.
The Canadians continued playing with the initiative in the second stanza. In a period which saw more penalties than goalmouth action, Vasily Koshechkin pulled off a number of superb point blank range stops. At the other end, Russia were struggling to create real chances. Nikita Gusev was presented with an ideal opportunity to finally hit the target, however he could only slap into Ben Scrivens’ chest when alone between the circles.
Eventually, Russia beat Ben Scrivens at the start of the third period. On the powerplay, Nikita Nesterov wound up for a huge slap shot, with the puck travelling under the goalkeeper’s blocker. The Canadians threw bodies into attack searching for an instant response, but that only resulted in our players doubling their advantage. Vladislav Gavrikov dished a perfect pass to SKA teammate Sergei Plotnikov, who calmly slid the puck past the sprawling Ben Scrivens. Russia calmly saw out the remaining ten minutes, hanging on to a pulsating 2:0 triumph against Canada!
Russia – Canada – 2:0 (0:0, 0:0, 2:0)
1:0 Nesterov (Gusev), 42.24
2:0 Plotnikov (Gavrikov, Kovalchuk), 49.43
Goalkeepers: Koshechkin – Scrivens
Shots on target: 16 – 15
Faceoffs: 18 – 25
Penalty minutes: 33 – 16
Referees: Hodek, Hribik
16.12.2017. Legends Park, Moscow.