Canada West tried to put on a show for the Fort St. John crowd on Thursday night, scoring three goals in the first period and leading 3-1 after 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the Canadians wouldn't score again and Russia would storm back to win the World Junior A Challenge exhibition 6-3.
While the game at the North Peace Arena didn't have mid-tournament drama and momentum, the two teams took the game seriously and put forth a full effort.
The goal scorers for Canada were Michael Benning, captain Massimo Rizzo, and Kent Johnson. Carter Savoie led the team with two points, both assists.
Savoie, who plays for Sherwood Park of the AJHL, was joined by his Sherwood Park teammates Michael Benning and goalie Carter Gylander, who came into the game halfway through the second period and allowed only one goal, as Russia scored two empty net goals in the final two minutes of the game.
Russian forward Nikita Buruyanov led the team with three points (one goal, two assists), while Vasili Ponomaryov, Nikita Kiryanov, and Daniil Gushchin had a goal and an assist each.
The tournament officially begins with two games on Saturday, December 7, at the Encana Events Centre – Russia vs Canada East at 2 p.m., and USA vs Canada West at 7 p.m.
The World Junior A Challenge will be back at the North Peace Arena for a round robin game on Wednesday, December 11 at 7 p.m. between Canada East and USA.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.