ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL) was solid in a 22-save performance, but Canada’s National Men’s Team went without a goal in a 3-0 loss to SKA St. Petersburg in the final preliminary-round game for both Wednesday at the 2017 Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov.
The loss evens Canada’s round-robin record at 1-1, and means it will face SKA Neva in the third-place game on Thursday (7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT).
Canada had the edge in shots on goal in the first period, 12-8, but the game reached the intermission scoreless. It was the KHL side with the best chances; Viktor Tikhonov had a goal called back on a high-stick, and Maxim Karpov beat Scrivens but not the post late in the opening frame.
It was much of the same in the second period, with Canada outshooting St. Petersburg 11-6, but Scrivens and SKA counterpart Igor Shestyorkin kept it a 0-0 game for much of the middle stanza.
Penalty trouble doomed the Canadians in the dying minutes of the second period, and the tournament hosts finally broke through with just seven seconds left when Patrick Hersley hammered a slap shot through the legs of Scrivens with SKA on a two-man advantage.
Canada pressed for the tying goal in the third period but couldn’t find a way past Shestyorkin, who finished with 31 saves.
Nikita Gusev doubled the St. Petersburg lead midway through the period when his one-timer hit a Canadian stick and beat Scrivens over the shoulder, and Tikhonov found the empty net with 1:53 left to cap the scoring.
“This is our team’s second game together, they’re all from different club teams but they competed very hard. I think any time Canada plays against Russia you know your players are going to give you a very strong effort. Our execution wasn’t great, our skill wasn’t great, but our heart and our effort was good.”
– Dave King, assistant coach
“Fans got into it throughout the whole game and those are atmospheres when you play in Europe that you have to learn to play against and try to shut the crowd down and just play your game. I thought throughout [the game] we did some good things; obviously we only had three practices together so we’re just building on things, learn from this loss and the mistakes we made and utilize that next game.”
– Derek Roy on Canada’s effort