WEST WINS WILD ONE, EDGES RUSSIA IN SHOOTOUT

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Matthew Davis (Calgary, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) stopped all 25 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, backstopping Canada West to its first win at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge, a 1-0 triumph over Russia on Wednesday night.

The game was just the third 1-0 result in tournament history (Sweden vs. United States, 2011 and Czech Republic vs. United States, 2016) and the first to go past regulation time without a goal.

Carter Savoie (St. Albert, Alta./Sherwood Park, AJHL) and Massimo Rizzo (Burnaby, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) provided the lone offence of the evening, scoring in the first and third rounds of the shootout, respectively.

Savoie snapped a quick shot through Russian goaltender Yegor Guskov on the first Canadian attempt, and Rizzo showed off his slick hands before roofing a backhand over Guskov for the eventual winner.

Daniil Gushchin finally beat Davis on Russia’s fourth shot, but he turned aside Vasili Ponomaryov in Round 5 to clinch the extra point for the Canadians.

Guskov was the busier netminder early, making 12 saves in the first period, including a breakaway stop off Luke Mylymok (Wilcox, Sask./Salmon Arm, BCHL) that was one of his best of the night.

Davis only faced five shots in the opening 20 minutes, but was called upon to deny Marat Khusnutdinov with a tough blocker stop midway through the frame.

Both goaltenders continued to shine in a back-and-forth second period and made eight saves apiece in the third; Davis stood out again in the final stanza, making a couple more point-blanks stops off Khusnutdinov.

Speed killed in overtime, with the teams going end-to-end in search of a winner, but again the goaltenders stood tall, leading to the shootout heroics of Davis, Savoie and Rizzo to keep Canada West in the running for a semifinal spot.

Quotes:

“It was kind of frustrating losing the first two [games]. We have been playing well and we had some good glimpses of the hockey we know we can play. To come out here and get that first win is great for our team, and now we can continue working toward earning a spot in the semifinals.

 

“I kind of had my [shootout] move in my head already. When I came down I faked a shot and saw some open net, and I when I got [the puck] up over the goalie it was a great feeling.”

–      Team Canada West captain Massimo Rizzo (Burnaby, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) on his team’s bounce-back win and his shootout goal

It closes out its preliminary round against the Czech Republic on Thursday night (7 p.m. MT), needing a victory to stay in the playoff hunt, while Russia faces the United States in its prelim finale on Friday (2 p.m. MT).