Grayson Downing and Dylan Walchuk scored third-period goals as Canada West earned its first win of the 2010 World Junior A Challenge with a 4-2 victory over Russia on Wednesday night.
Downing also added two assists for the Canadians, who won despite blowing a 2-0 second-period lead. The victory means Canada West will face Sweden in Wednesday’s late quarter-final (7:30 p.m. PT), while Russia will take on Canada East in the early game (4 p.m. PT).
Winless in their three games in the Okanagan – including exhibition – Canada West got the quick start it needed when John Lidgett poked a loose puck past Oleg Dyatlov just 2:27 in. But Dyatlov shone after that, making 18 saves in the first period alone.
Lidgett was in on Canada West’s second goal as well, helping set up Reed Linaker, who snapped a shot through a screen and past Dyatlov on a Canadian power play.
But the Russians pushed back late in the period as Nikita Kucherov, shorthanded, and Nikita Nesterov, on the power play, made it a 2-2 game, with both goals coming on point shots that eluded Canada West goaltender Matthew Krahn.
Despite the Russians seemingly having the momentum it was Canada West who came out with jump in the third period, and was rewarded when Downing converted a Sam Jardine feed just 2:38 into the period.
The final nail came from Walchuk, who walked out from the corner and neatly slipped the puck around Dyatlov for a power play goal at 11:35. Downing earned his third point with an assist, while Clarke Breitkreuz, the third member of undoubtedly the game’s best line, picked up the other helper.
One night after Switzerland pounded Russia for 52 shots the Canadians did them one better, peppering Dyatlov with 53. Despite the loss, the Russian netminder was a deserving recipient of his team’s Player of the Game award after making 49 saves. Downing earned the honour for Canada West.