|Linesman Ryan Dawson works to keep the peace|
between Team Russia's Maxim Berezin and
Brandon Herrod of Team WHL.
(Photo by Murray Mitchell/Kamloops Daily News)
Daily News Sports Reporter
The Subway Super Series certainly lived up to its billing Wednesday night.
The Russian Selects beat Team WHL 7-6 in a shootout in front of 5,456 boisterous fans at Interior Savings Centre. The game was the fifth in the six-game Super Series, which will conclude tonight in Prince George.
The Russians lead the series 3-2, and hold a 9-6 lead in points. The series gives three points for a regulation victory, two for a shootout victory and one for a shootout loss.
This game had pretty much everything — talented teams, a spirited comeback and playoff intensity. The last time the Super Series stopped in Kamloops, on Nov. 30, 2006, it was anything but super, with the WHL winning 8-1.
Last night’s game was a beauty.
“It was a strange game . . .” said Team WHL head coach Ryan Huska, “There were lots of ups and downs, and at the end of the night, we would have hoped to come out on the winning side.”
Team WHL appeared to have this game in control two different times — it held a three-goal lead 6:31 into the first period, and again midway through the third period.
But the visitors, playing their fifth game in five cities since coming to Canada on Nov. 8, wouldn’t give up, and finally tied the game 6-6 with 7:52 remaining in the third period.
Once the game got into a shootout, the Russians dominated, scoring on three of their four chances. Jordan Weal had the lone shootout goal for the WHL.
“They never gave up,” said Blazers defenceman Austin Madaisky. “It seemed like when we got up, we took our foot off the gas pedal. It came back to bite us.”
Team WHL couldn’t have drawn up a better start . . . or a worse finish.
Carter Ashton of the Regina Pats fired a bullet into the top corner 2:16 into the game, and Moose Jaw Warriors forward Quinton Howden made it 2-0 1:20 later.
Stefan Elliott of the Saskatoon Blades made it 3-0 on a power play at 6:31 of the first period, and the local fans must have been thinking back to that 8-1 shellacking in 2006.
But Russia had other plans, with Daniil Sobchenko and Artemiy Panarin cutting the lead to 3-2 before the end of the period,
Prince Albert Raiders forward Brandon Herrod made it 4-2 midway through the second period, but Russia’s Anton Burdasov cut the lead 41 seconds into the third period.
Regina’s Weal and Saskatoon’s Curtis Hamilton scored power-play goals 54 seconds apart to make it 6-3, and the WHL appeared poised to cruise to an easy victory. But the Russians scored three times in a span of 2:42 — the goals came from Sergey Kalinin, Maxim Kitsyn and Artem Voronin — to stun the capacity crowd.
“We got that three-goal lead and maybe we let back a little,” said Tri-City Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin, who had two assists in the loss. “We knew we had to skate with them because we knew they were going to push.
“They didn’t stop. It’s disappointing. You don’t want to represent your team and your league like that.”
Madaisky was one of three Blazers to participate in the game — forwards Brendan Ranford and Chase Schaber also took part, although none registered a point. Ranford was WHL’s final shooter in the shootout, but his deke was stopped by Russia goaltender Emil Garipov.
Madaisky, who was solid in the loss, was impressed by the fans, if not the game’sfinal result. The Blazers have yet to draw 5,000 fans to a home game this season.
“This was the most exciting crowd I’ve ever played in front of at the ISC,” said the 18-year-old Surrey native. “It would be great if we could get that every night, but it was nice to get it while it lasted.”
JUST NOTES: Blazers head coach Guy Charron served as an assistant under Huska. Charron won’t make the trip to Prince George, and Cougars head coach Dean Clark will serve under Huska. . . . Calgary head coach Mike Williamson also served as an assistant coach on Wednesday, and will do so again tonight. . . . Both teams were 3-for-6 on the power play. . . . Everett Silvertips goaltender Kent Simpson made 27 saves in the loss. . . . Russia started with Dmitry Shikin in goal, but he was pulled after allowing two goals on three shots. Garipov came in and stopped 40 shots. . . . Seattle Thunderbirds G Calvin Pickard will start in goal for Team WHL tonight. . . . Tk’emlups Indian Band Chief Shane Gottfriedson and former Blazers captain Ajay Baines were honourary captains for the game. . . . The Russians’ victory improves their record to 2-13 against the WHL and 9-38 against the CHL.