TORONTO, Ont. – Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) scored twice on the power play, both times assisted by Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) – who added a goal of his own – and Canada’s National Junior Team opened the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 5-3 win over Russia.
Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./University of North Dakota, NCHC) and Nicolas Roy (Amos, Que./Chicoutimi, QMJHL) also scored in the win.
Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL) was in net for Canada.
Canada outshot Russia 37-17 for the game.
It had been 721 days since the teams last faced off at the Air Canada Centre. And while no gold medal was on the line this time, there was no lack of emotion from either side.
A near-capacity crowd was out its seats quickly. Only 3:11 after puck drop, Jost backhanded a feed from Philippe Myers (Moncton, N.B./Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) high into the net. It was a display of great patience by both the giver and the receiver of the pass. Myers controlled the puck by the side boards waiting for a passing lane to open up. Once Jost had the puck he calmly took a few strides before opening the scoring.
Russia equalized just shy of the midway mark of the period. Mikhail Sergachyov beat Hart blocker side with a shot from the high slot.
Canada dominated the second period, both in shots on net – 15-4 – and possession, and found the back of the net twice.
On the power play, Barzal sent a cross-seam pass for Strome to one-time from the right face-off dot.
Less than four minutes later Roy beat Ilya Samsonov far side with a shot from just inside the edge of the right circle.
After 40 minutes Canada was outshooting Russia by a 3:1 ratio, 27-9.
Canada took a three-goal lead early in the third period. Pierre-Luc Dubois (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que./Cape Breton, QMJHL) sent a pass out front from behind the net, with Barzal lunging to poke the puck in the far bottom corner. The goal came 16 seconds into the power play.
Kirill Kaprizov responded two minutes later, beating Hart glove side with a shot from the slot.
Another power play goal from Canada – its third of the game – came minutes later. Strome drew a roughing penalty on a breakaway, and only seven seconds into the man-advantage buried the rebound off Barzal’s shot.
Russia wrapped up the scoring 1:30 later, Yegor Rykov going far side with a wrist shot from the right dot.
Samsonov made 32 saves for Russia in the loss.
Dominique Ducharme, head coach, Canada’s National Junior Team:
“I feel our team [is] right there, at the right spot, mentally – I like their focus, I like their mindset, I like the energy. I like how the guys are becoming stronger as a team. [Getting that first win] is a good way to start for us. Our goal is to get better.”
“It’s a huge advantage for us [to play] against a team like Russia right out of the gate. You get into the tournament, diving head first, and it’s nice to get a real tough team under our belt so we aren’t starting behind the eight-ball like we did last year. We just need to keep ‘er going, and we need that effort every night.”
“A real good start for us, a pretty spirited game. Both teams were definitely fired up and ready to play.”