RUSSIA CRUISES PAST U.S., WINS GROUP B AT HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
JASON LA ROSE
RED DEER, Alta. – Daniil Gushchin scored twice and added two assists, and Russia pulled away in the third period to earn an 8-3 win over the United States on Wednesday night and take first place in Group B at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Mikhail Abramov and Yaroslav Likhachyov had a goal and three helpers each for the Russians, who scored the final five goals of the game to set up a semifinal showdown with Sweden on Friday (3 p.m. MT).
The Americans are also semifinal-bound; they will face Canada on Friday night (7 p.m. MT).
It looked as if it would be a runaway from the first drop of the puck, with Russia holding a 21-3 advantage in shots on goal in the opening stanza and taking a three-goal lead to the intermission.
Gushchin was first at 12:18, converting his own rebound, Likhachyov buried a second chance at the side of the net at 16:45 and Ilya Mironov capitalized after an offensive-zone turnover to seemingly put Russia in control.
But the Americans came all the way back before the nine-minute mark of the second period.
Robert Mastrosimone got the comeback started early, toe-dragging around a Russian defender before rifling a shot past goaltender Yaroslav Askarov.
Arthur Kaliyev banged in a rebound to make it a one-goal game on the power play just 68 seconds later, and Sam Colangelo tied it at 8:33 with a redirect of a Luke Reid shot on another man advantage.
Despite the comeback, the Russians still held a wide edge in shots in the second period – 19-8 – and Vasili Podkolzin hammered in a one-timer to restore the lead late in the middle frame.
It was all Russia in the third period, starting with the second goal from Gushchin just 1:38 in.
Abramov made it a three-goal game at 8:54 off a pretty set-up from Likhachyov, Podkolzin drove the net to score his tournament co-leading fourth goal at 11:32 and Roman Bychkov blasted in a point shot on a final-minute power play to cap the offensive festivities.
Despite the loss, Derek Mullahy was a stand-out for the Americans, finishing with 47 saves.