After an action packed opening game of the Canada-Russia Challenge, the second proved more of the same, but in reversed roles. It was Russia that would pounce on early powerplay advantages to take the upper-hand for the duration of the game.
Maxime Legacy got the nod in goal for Canada, as Andrei Makarov was between the pipes for Russia.
After a similar first period to the first game, it remained scoreless after 20 minutes. Canada’s Mark Scheifele was ejected from the game with under six minutes remaining in the first period after a knee-on-knee incident with a Russian player, Karill Kapustin. The penalties began to dig the Canadians a hole in the second frame.
The second period saw Canada take another penalty early and the Russians capitalized twice with goals by Anton Zlobin and Karill Kapustin to crack the egg and take the lead. The gritty play and edgy compete level continued through two periods, as the teams combined for 15 penalties through 40 minutes. But Ty Rattie responded for Canadawith a powerplay goal of his own to cut the lead in half, but Kapustin came back with his second of the game, a short-handed goal, to redraw the two goal lead heading into the third frame.
In the third, it was Toronto’s newly signed draft pick that would jump the rush and tip home his first goal of the series to, once again, bring Canada within one. Also notice the mirrored scoring pattern of the first game, but this time in Russia’s favour. However, that was as close as they’d get, as Maxim Shalunov scored two minutes later and Kapustin scoring his hat trick goal to bring the Russians to a 5-2 lead. Ryan Strome would ad another tally for Canada, but so would Shalunov on an empty net goal, to seal the 6-3 victory.
The game ended with 16 penalties, 9 taken by Canada, bringing the series combined total to 26 penalties. The series has evidently taken the turn from highly offensive, to highly aggressive. Both teams played chippy through Game 2 and should create for a great conclusion in Canada. Game 3 of the four-game series will take place Monday night in Halifax.
My review of the first two games admires an excellent compete level, driven by high emotion. The first two games in Yaroslavl were a great tribute to the tragedy of the September 7th plane crash a year ago. Though the emotion translated into a ton of penalties in Game 2, the outcome is justified as both teams head into the final two games with a win a piece.
As stated, the series will resume on Monday and the final game to be played on Tuesday in Halifax. So hang in there til Monday, watch some Olympics, then cheer on our boys in the final two games of this classic series!