In the only WJC warm-up game, Team Russia lost to Canada with a 0-1 score.

The Russians start the game well, with a powerplay in the first few minutes for the team led by Igor Larionov. However, Rodion Amirov had the first real scoring chance with the teams in even strength, followed by a dangerous shot by Marat Khusnutdinov - both stopped by the home team's netminder Devon Levi.

His Russian colleague, Yaroslav Askarov, was also busy: in the second half of the opening stanza, Canada found its pace and started storming the Russian crease. Jakob Pelletier was faster than the Russian D-men in the slot and served the puck to Dylan Holloway, whose shot hit the crossbar.

At the end of the first period, Canada could enjoy a powerplay due to a penalty whistled on Marat Khusnutdinov, but the Russians closed all the gaps, Vasily Podkolzin took a slapshot on himself, and there were no further chances to open the score.

"I think that we faced well the opposition," Arseni Gritsyuk told the press in the intermission. "The Canadians tried to force their game on us, but we are also playing our game and are gradually improving."

The Omsk connection of Gritsyuk and Yegor Chinakhov, who made up Larionov's second line, was the most dangerous in front of Levi. The second period started with a fast break by Chinakhov followed by a shot by Gritsyuk, pretty much on an open crease, but due to the difficult angle, the puck hit the post.

However, in the second stanza, the Canadians had more chances. Askarov was ready, though, but Larionov decided in the third period to rest him and play Artur Akhtyamov instead.

In the third period, the game's speed went down, and the tempo began to break. After four minutes, the Canadians scored. After killing a penalty, Jamie Drysdale broke the deadlock finding the right line and corner just above Akhtyamov's blocker, scoring the game's lone goal.

"It was our first game in a long time," Russia's captain Vasily Podkolzin said after the game. "We faced a good team. We need to rest and start the tournament with fresh forces. After the midway mark, we gave the Canadians the initiative; we aren't in ideal shape yet. We need to play more with the puck and allow less possession to the opposition. We'll study the game and start the tournament the right way."

The Russians tried hard to tie things up in the late third period, including a breakaway missed by Chinakhov, but Levi shut the doors and stopped all the guests' attempts, who also tried to bench their goalie for a sixth skater.

"We knew that it would be a hard game," said Larionov. "It was just the first game. We played rather well, created many chances, and shoot so many times, but we couldn't score. It wasn't our best game, but I'm pleased by the team's effort.

All the lines had their chance today, and all the guys played well in the d-zone. The Canadians are a good team; we still have time to analyze things and make the right conclusions.

We were planning to play two games to give both goalies a game to gain shape, but, in the end, we only had one match to prepare, and thus I decided to give Akhtyamov a chance in the third period. I'd say that both goalies played well. Askarov has much more experience now, and he played a fantastic game. But we are waiting for much more also from the other guys."

Larionov also had some words about Chinakhov. The Omsk forward had plenty of good moments but couldn't beat Levi. "I'm sure he just saved some goals for the next games," the coach told the press. "I'm not worried about him; he makes his line better and creates chances. It was just a warm-up game. The guys will calm down, rest, and prepare to please the fans with more goals and wins."

The WJC will start tomorrow night as Team Russia and Team USA clash for another classic of the tournament.

Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
KHL press office KHL press office
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