MOSCOW, Russia – Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL) finished with 14 saves, but Canada’s National Men’s Team couldn’t find the back of the net in a 2-0 loss to Russia to finish the 2017 Channel One Cup on Saturday.
The game was the definition of a defensive struggle; the teams combined for just 31 shots on goal, with the Russians holding a narrow 16-15 advantage.
Canada carried the play in the first period, outshooting Russia 7-3 thanks in large part to a five-minute power play midway through the opening frame, but Vasily Koshechkin was up to the task in the Russian goal, keeping the game scoreless into the intermission.
A back-and-forth second period was dominated by the goaltenders, with Scrivens and Koshechkin going save-for-save to preserve the scoreless tie into the final 20 minutes.
The tournament hosts finally broke through on the power play early in the third; Nikita Gusev set up Nikita Nesterov, who ripped a one-timer short-side on Scrivens from the face-off dot.
The insurance marker came seven minutes later, with Sergey Plotnikov and Vladislav Gavrikov playing give and go before Plotnikov beat a sprawling Scrivens to make it 2-0.
Canada finished with a win and two losses in its second-to-last tournament ahead of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. It will return to the ice later this month for the Spengler Cup, opening the annual event against Czech side Mountfield HK on Boxing Day in Davos, Switzerland.