Prince Albert, SK – Kyle Beach of the Everett Silvertips scored the game-winner as Team WHL edged a spirited Russian Selects team 2-1 in the finale of the 2008 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge before 2749 fans at the Art Hauser Center in Prince Albert, SK, on Thursday night.
Zach Boychuk also scored and was selected Player of the Game for Team WHL, who faced a much feistier Russian side in Thursday’s series finale than they did in Wednesday night’s 5-0 victory in Swift Current, SK.
“They played well,” said Team WHL head coach Willie Desjardins of the Russians’ far superior effort in Thursday’s contest. “They made some adjustments in their game, and I though they worked pretty hard.“We had some chances that we missed, but they had some real good opportunities, too, and we could have easily lost that game,” added Desjardins, whose side outshot the Russians 46-23 in the contest.
After a scoreless first period, Team WHL got on the board first with Boychuk burying a rebound off Colten Teubert’s point shot on the power play just over five minutes into the second period. Beach gave Team WHL some breathing room with a nice individual effort 12:16 into the third period.
The Chicago Blackhawks prospect drove hard to the net from the goal line and made a nifty move to slip one past Perchusky on his far side.Russia finally broke their goalless drought 16:28 into the third period when Vadim Ermolaev beat Tokarski, snapping the WHL’s shutout streak at over 116 minutes.
“We’ll take the win,” said Beach, whose line with Calgary’s Brett Sonne and Regina’s Jordan Eberle created the most opportunities for Team WHL on the night. “Anytime you get whipped like they did, you’re always going to come out much harder the next night, which is what they did tonight.“We knew what we needed to bring, and I though all the guys did well – even some of the guys who didn’t know they were playing until today,” he said.
Indeed, the score could have been a bit more lopsided for Team WHL if it weren’t for the play of Russian netminder Alexander Pechurskiy, who turned in a 44-save performance and earned the Player of the Game honors for his side.
However, Team WHL netminder Dustin Tokaski of the Spokane chiefs also had to be sharp, kicking out 22 shots to earn the victory. Tokarski, who once led the Prince Albert Mintos to the Telus Cup National Midget Championship, faced a stiffer test than Tri-City goaltender Chet Pickard did the previous night in Swift current.“You had to expect them to come out harder,” said Tokarski. “We dominated them last night, but they came out with a good effort tonight and threw a lot of pucks on net.”Tokarski, though, also was quick to credit a strong WHL defense in helping him claim the win in his first ADT Canada-Russia appearance.“It was a complete team effort, and my defensemen were always quick to clear out rebounds and clear out the front of the net whenever I had to make saves…Their goalie played great, too,” he said.
With the victory, the CHL wins the 2008 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge with a 5-1 record through the six-game series. The win also improves the WHL to 13-1 all-time versus the Russian Selects through the event’s six-year history.
We arrived at Red Deer about 9pm local time. We checked into our hotel and maybe half an hour later, the Moose Jaw Warriors checked into the same hotel. Weird.
They play the Rebels tomorrow night while the Broncos will base out of Red Deer and bus into Calgary for the game tomorrow afternoon.
I'll post something in the morning/afternoon...