JASON LA ROSE
LILLEHAMMER, Norway – Allan McShane (Collingwood, Ont./Toronto Marlboros, GTHL) and Luka Burzan (Surrey, B.C./Valley West, BCMML) scored in the final minute to make it close, but Canada dropped a 4-3 decision to Russia to open the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games on Saturday.
The Canadians held a one-sided 40-21 advantage in shots on goal, including 32-13 over the final two periods, but struggled to put pucks behind Russian goaltender Amir Mifyakhov.
Russia struck quickly, taking advantage of an early power play; Yegor Sokolov beat Canadian netminder Olivier Rodrigue (Canton Tremblay, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ) with the man advantage just 2:04 in, and Andrei Svechnikov doubled the lead at 5:20, forcing Canadian head coach Martin Raymond to use his timeout.
The Canadians settled down after that and took over offensively in the second period, directing 22 shots at Mifyakhov in the middle frame, compared to just eight for the Russians.
But it took until the closing minutes of the period for Canada to finally break through; Aidan Dudas (Parry Sound, Ont./North Central, OMHA) set up Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Lloydminster, AMHL) on a Canadian power play, and the captain made it a one-goal game heading to the third period.
The momentum wouldn’t last long, however; Vladislav Kotkov needed just 37 seconds of the final stanza to restore the two-goal Russian lead, and Alexander Khovanov made it a 4-1 game at 4:39.
Canada pushed to get back into the game, outshooting Russia 10-5 in the third period, but ran out of time.
McShane, with 48 seconds to go, and Burzan, with five ticks left, got consolation goals late in the third.
The Canadians are back to action Monday at the Kristins Hall in Lillehammer, taking on the defending gold medallists from Finland (11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT) in the second of four preliminary-round games.