Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Russia Completes Sweep of Team WHL

Ivan Provorov (#22 White) got the best of Wheat Kings' teammate
Jayce Hawryluk (in red) in the Subway Super Series
(Photo Credit: Andy Devlin)
  Winnipeg Jets' draft pick Pavel Kraskovsky had two goals and an assist to pace the Russian Selects to a 3-2 win over Team WHL in Game 2 of the Subway Super Series at Westman Communications Group Place in Brandon on Tuesday night.

  The victory allowed the Russians to sweep the WHL portion of the series after winning the opening game 3-2 in an 11-round shootout on Monday night in Saskatoon.

  On Tuesday, Kraskovsky's power-play goal just past the midway mark of the first period was the only goal in the opening 20 minutes, and Andrey Alexeev made is 2-0 by redirecting a Kraskovsky goal-mouth pass nine minutes into the second period.

  Team WHL cut into the lead with Victoria Royals' defenceman Joe Hicketts' power-play blast from the left point 3:36 into the third period before Kraskovsky restored Russia's two-goal lead at 14:01, a nifty behind the back backhand shot past Team WHL goaltender Tristan Jarry, who finished with 15 saves.

  Connor Bleackley got Team WHL back to within a goal just 45 seconds after Kraskovsky's second of the night but Team WHL couldn't get the equalizer despite pressuring late in the contest, particularly after pulling the goaltender for the extra attacker with just over a minute remaining.

  "They were opportunistic on offence, I didn't think we were ever in real serious trouble," said Team WHL assistant coach and Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on CKLQ's post-game show, "We had a lot of zone time and could only get two to drop."

  Denis Kostin had a strong game in the Russian net, stopping 34 shots including all 25 he faced during the first 40 minutes of the contest.

  Wheat Kings' forwards John Quenneville and Jayce Hawryluk were held off the scoresheet for Team WHL, playing together on a line with first Jake Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen and then Jaedon Descheneau of the Kootenay Ice.

  "We had a lot of shots, I thought we played well and got lots of shots towards the net," said Hawryluk, "Their goalie played well and we just couldn't get the bounces we needed."
Team WHL bench, including a'sst coach and Wheat Kings'
GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon (Photo Credit: Andy Devlin)

  On the other side of the ice, Wheat Kings' defenceman Ivan Provorov assisted on Russia's first goal of the night to finish his two games in the Super Series with two assists and an even plus/minus.

  "Feels great," said Provorov post-game, "It's always fun to play for a national team and it's a good rivalry against Canada so we're pumped."

  The Subway Super Series is used as an evaluation tool by Hockey Canada to help determine invitations to next month's National Junior Team Selection Camp.

  Hawryluk felt he did everything he could to make an impression in hopes to securing one of those coveted invitations.

  "I feel happy with how these past two games have went.  I felt my play was decent, I felt I played hard like they want me to," said Hawryluk, who attended the Summer Development Camp in August, "I thought I showcased my stuff to them as best as I could and I guess we'll see in three weeks time what happens."

  Among those in attendance at the Subway Super Series game Tuesday was the head coach for the Canadian team for this year's World Junior in Benoit Groulx and Ryan Jankowski, the head scout for Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence.

  Jankowski says he expects the Selection Camp roster to be released by Hockey Canada on December 1st.

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