Friday, 10 August 2012
Game Report - Canada-Russia Challenge Game #1
August 9th, 2012
Home Team: Russia
Away Team: Canada
An offensively exciting 3-2 win by Canada over the Russians, who looked out of sync and failed to create any quantity of chances against a Canadian team that did a good job backchecking. There were points where the game got really physical and scraps after the whistle were a pleasant surprise so early in the series. Both goalies played well, and there were some excellent chances from both sides where the goalies came up big.
Charles Hudon #10, Canada - Hudon did it all in this game, except finish a chance. Put on a line with Philip Danult and Boone Jenner, there was lots of space for Hudon to create offence, and he did just that. He had great scoring chances in each period and even showed a physical side including a huge hit on a Russian defender at middle ice. Hudon even looked like he improved his skating over the summer, showing a better 'next gear' that led to a breakaway.
Nikolai Prokhorkin #7, Russia - Prokhorkin was a standout for Russia because of his ability on the forecheck and his great physical presence, something Russia seemed to lack. He was scrappy in the corners, including creating space for Slepyshev for Russias first goal and looked like he would fit nicely in a Canadian jersey, and skated great for a big man. Looks like the L.A. Kings found themselves a gem.
Mikhail Grigorenko #25, Russia - Grigorenko looked like the enigma that he was cooked up to be at the draft today, making some passes that caught you off guard and showed his elite vision, followed by other passes that led to a turnover and left you shaking your head. His skating did not seem much improved over last season, and he did not look very involved in the corners where he lost a lot of battles. This game gave me the impression that Grigorenko will be back in Quebec this season.
Morgan Reilly #5 D - Canada - In my first viewing of Reilly, his skating caught my eye big time. He can flat out fly around the ice at will and is so poised with the puck on his stick. He gets around the ice like a true professional and even made several strong defensive plays, including an all-heart shot block to stifle a Russian 2 on 1. Reilly looked like Canadas best defender, competing for that title with Dougie Hamilton.
Anton Slepyshev #11 F, Russia - Slepyshev was Russias best player not named Yakupov in this game, scoring Russias first goal with a beautiful finish and engaging himself all game both offensively and defensively. Worked very well with Nikolai Prokhorkin which made their lines dangerous throughout the game. Slepyshev gets around the ice well and seems like an all-around Russian player, something not often seen in U-20 tournaments.
Honorable Mentions -
Vladimir Tkachev filled his energy role very well for Russia, causing trouble on the forecheck for Russia.
Lucas Lessio played an aggressive game driving the net and being physical, an element I didn't really expect from him.
Nail Yakupov played as advertised as a #1 overall pick, showing off his incredible skating and hands and scoring a nice one-timer goal on Russias second goal.