ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Taylor Beck (Niagara Falls, Ont./Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, KHL) paced the offence with two goals and an assist, and Canada’s National Men’s Team opened the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov with a 5-1 win over HC Sochi on Tuesday.
It’s the second win for Canada over Sochi in nine days; it posted a 1-0 overtime victory on Aug. 6 in the opening game for both at the Sochi Hockey Open.
The power-play was key for the Canadians, who got man-advantage goals from Beck, Jonathan Matsumoto (Ottawa, Ont./EHC München, DEL) and Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Man./EHC Biel-Bienne, NLA) in a span of nine minutes to pull away late in the second period and early in the third.
Beck opened the scoring at 6:38, keeping on a two-on-one and wiring a shot over the glove of Sochi goaltender Konstantin Barulin, and Sean Collins (Saskatoon, Sask./HC Sochi, KHL) jammed in the 2-0 goal from the side of the net midway through the opening frame.
Canada held a one-sided advantage in shots on goal in the second period, 14-4, but the KHL side got one back on a power play of its own when Ilya Khokhlov hammered a point shot past goaltender Kevin Poulin (Montreal, Que.) at 13:20.
The Canadian power play took over from there; Beck was first at 16:08, walking out of the corner and finding room upstairs on the short-side on Barulin.
Matsumoto knocked in a rebound just 49 seconds later, sending Canada to the second intermission up 4-1.
Micflikier added to the lead five minutes into the third period, getting his stick on a point shot from Marc-André Gragnani (L’Île-Bizard, Que./HC Dinamo Minsk, KHL), providing the final margin of victory.
Canada is right back to action Wednesday (12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT), taking on host SKA St. Petersburg in its second and final preliminary-round game.
“Overall it was good, I thought our powerplay was good and we got a few on the powerplay. Taylor Beck made a couple of great shots, Kevin Poulin in net was good and made some big saves for us; overall the guys stuck with it. We had a big penalty kill to start the third, they had a five-on-three to start [the third] and that was a big kill for us.”
– Willie Desjardins, head coach on today’s effort with new additions to the lineup and some playing their first game
“A few days of practice was good, we got the systems down [pretty good] and obviously a little room for improvement, but a lot of guys are playing against different guys from the KHL and they haven’t played that style before. We’re trying to play that hard Canadian style and I think we did a good job of that today. A 5-1 win you have to be happy with that.”
– Taylor Beck on how the team is coming together