Kent Johnson

Nikita Kiryanov scored twice in the third period, including the game-winning goal, and Russia scored the final five goals to earn a 6-3 win over Canada West in pre-tournament action Thursday ahead of the 2019 World Junior A Challenge.

Vasili Ponomaryov and Nikita Buruyanov added a goal and an assist apiece for the Russians, while Michael Benning (St. Albert, Alta./Sherwood Park, AJHL), Massimo Rizzo (Burnaby, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) and Kent Johnson (Port Moody, B.C./Trail, BCHL) provided first-period offence for Canada West.


“It’s important to get the first game under our belts. It was good for our team to get some strong periods in and find some chemistry on the power play. It’s also important for us to be taught a lesson early on by giving up a lead, as it helps humble our guys and shows us how good the competition will be in this tournament.


“I think our speed and the way we start games off are going to be key for us to be effective. Going forward, we will have to continue to play as a team, especially when we find ourselves in tough situations like we did tonight.”

–      Joe Martin (Kingston, Ont./Alberni Valley, AJHL), head coach for Team Canada West, on playing Russia in pre-competition action and improvements going forward