Game 3 brought the heat, as promised, and delivered a shoot-out in a highly offensive affair to the enthusiastic Halifax crowd. Canada, though, on the losing end after the final buzzer.
Team Canada took sole responsibility for Game 2 and shouldered the blame of the loss on their indiscipline. And even though Head Coach, Steve Spott, defended Mark Scheifele, by saying he disagreed with the five-minute major and the ejection from the game and ultimately thought the calls were soft, Scheifele squared the fault on himself for the game-changing penalty. Either way, the series was tied and Canada had the next two games on home soil.
In goal, Canada went with Laurent Brossoit, as Russia opted for Andrei Makarov.
Before you could sit on the couch with a fresh bag of popcorn in hand, ready to watch Canada take on Russia in Game 3, the Russians raced out to a 1-0 lead. Andrei Sigarev’s shot appeared to glance off the shaft of a Canadian defenseman as it beat the unsuspecting Brossoit. And just five minutes later, Vladimir Tkachev would increase the lead to 2-0, as the Russians assumed control of the game. However, just moments later, the Russians took back-to-back penalties and paid for it, as Ryan Murphy buried his point shot just seconds into the 5-on-3 man advantage. Action followed for several minutes without a goal, but it would be the Ryan Murphy-Ryan Murray duo that would strike again, as Murphy tied the game a deuces. But just when you thought Canada had it knotted up going into the second period, Brendan Leipsic took a penalty just seconds after the tying goal. And wouldn’t you know it, the Russians converted to retake the lead heading into the middle frame.
The second period kept pace, for the most part, but Anton Zlobin would restore the two-goal lead for Russia just four minutes in. However, the Russians would keep it interesting by taking a three penalties in the second period, two of which Canada would capitalize on and eventually tie the game. Sean Mohanan and Charles Hudon were the goal-getters, and Morgan Rielly made a great pass, threading the needle through the crease, to feed Hudon for the tying goal. In the third, the drama only intensified.
Amped from their second period comeback, Canada opened the third period with a fantastic.. penalty. And of course, the Russians would score, as Anton Slepyshev put in a beauty at the side of the net, up-and-over a helpless Brossoit. But it didn’t take long for Russia to take another penalty. Less than five minutes, in fact. And Canada scored, yet another, powerplay goal. Team Canada Captain, Jonathan Huberdeau, tied the game and Leafs top pick, Morgan Rielly, once again drawing an assist. Unfortunately for Canada, the penalties ended there. Especially since Sigarev scored his second of the game at 13:37 of the third period. The Canadians couldn’t find the handle in the dying seconds, the puck seemed to bounce around like a tennis ball in the last ten seconds to solidify the Russian victory.
The Halifax crowd enjoyed a game that never let them blink, but in the end, saw their beloved boys drop a pivotal third game. This loss nullifies the possibility of winning the series. But the Canadians played rather well and displayed a lethal powerplay that is not to be rivalled. Both teams’ coaches are likely not enjoying this series, in the sense that it has been a super offensive struggle, leaving spectacular margins of error. Defensive collapses at the forefront, along with too many penalties.
Though the Russians won, the Russian coaching staff is likely unimpressed with the amount of penalties their squad took. More importantly, how many of those penalties translated into Canadian goals. In any case, the Russians avoid the possibility of ‘losing’ the series and have granted themselves the chance of winning it rather convincingly.
Game 3 will be tomorrow night again in Halifax. The Canadians will look to split the series, while the Russians have their eyes fixed on a series victory. Despite this, technically, being an “exhibition” series, there is a lot on the line. When the series began, it was great chance for each country to give their potential players a good dose of competitive, international hockey in preparation for the World Junior Hockey Championships this winter. And though pride of winning the 40th anniversary of the great Summit Series has always been central motivation for the players, in Game 4 it will be the primary focus.
So be sure to tune in for the 7:00PM ET puck drop for Game 4 of this already epic series!