LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Adam Fantilli (Nobleton, Ont./Kimball Union Academy, USHS) and Denton Mateychuk (Dominion City, Man./Eastman, MAAAU18HL) scored goals in the second period, but a slow start doomed Canada in a 6-2 loss to Russia in the preliminary-round opener Saturday at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Russians scored twice with the power play and once shorthanded as part of a four-goal first period.
Canada found itself shorthanded within the first minute and took four minor penalties (90 seconds each) in the opening 15-minute period.
Matvei Michkov scored first at 6:43, tucking a shot past Canadian goaltender Vincent Filion (Shawinigan Que./Trois-Rivières, LHMAAAQ) at the side of the net on the man advantage, and Ivan Miroshnichenko drove hard down the left wing before setting up Ruslan Gazizov for a shorthanded marker just 89 seconds after that to make it 2-0.
Michkov counted again on the power play at 11:21, going five-hole on Filion, and Vyacheslav Malov finished off a scramble in front with the 4-0 goal at 12:53, sending Filion to the bench in favour of Dylan Ernst (Weyburn, Sask./Moose Jaw, SMAAAHL).
Just over a minute after Ilya Kvochko made it 5-0 on another Russian power play early in the second period, Fantilli took a pretty pass from Paul Ludwinski (Pickering, Ont./Toronto Marlboros, GTHL) and went skate-to-stick before beating netminder Sergei Ivanov to get Canada on the board.
Mateychuk added a second Canadian goal five minute later, sweeping a shot underneath Ivanov off a set-up from Pano Fimis (Richmond Hill, Ont./Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL).
But that would be it for Canadian offence, and Malov added his second of the game late in the third period to finish the scoring.
Canada was outshot 22-17, although it had a 15-14 advantage in the final 30 minutes.
Prelim action concludes Sunday with Canada taking on Denmark (8 a.m. ET/5 a.m. PT).
“[It] felt really good to score for my country in front of all those fans, with my family. It was a great pass by [Ludwinski]; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. This team has been amazing; there’s nobody I would rather go to war with, so now we’re just looking forward to facing Denmark tomorrow.”
- Fantilli on opening the scoring and playing together
“It was a really cool experience. There are a lot of fans at the game, and when Pano gave me that pass and I scored, I don’t really have words; it felt really special. We’ve created a bond for this tournament, so now we’re just looking at moving forward here.”
- Mateychuk on scoring and coming together as a team
“We want to stick to what makes us a good hockey team; we’ve talked about our core values, about our discipline, our team-first mentality. I thought that as the game went on we were better in all those three areas. We’re going to have to play to our strengths, play faster, stay disciplined and beat these teams five-on-five with our work ethic and our commitment. As the game progressed, we were better in those areas, and moving forward those are the areas we’ll continue to stress. Our goal remains to get better day by day in this tournament, and that’s something we’re going to continue to focus on.”
- Head coach Gordie Dwyer (Dalhousie, N.B.) on what the team will work on moving forward