Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Team WHL sweeps Team Russia

Kamloops, BC - Florida Panthers prospect Jayce Hawryluk (Brandon Wheat Kings) scored the winning goal with 3:13 remaining in the third period before goaltender Adin Hill (Portland Winterhawks) saved his biggest save of the night for last to secure the 4-2 victory as the WHL swept Russia for the first time in six years at the CHL Canada Russia Series.

Hill denied Russian forward Semyon Afonasevsky on a point blank chance from the slot inside the final minute to preserve the lead before Brett Pollock (Edmonton Oil Kings) proceeded to put the game on ice with an empty net marker.

Tuesday's game was very different from Game 1 on Monday as Russia was taking away time and space through the neutral zone in the early going, smothering a great deal of the offence Team WHL had generated earlier in the series.

The Russians came out inspired in the first period, redeeming themselves after surrendering a pair of goals early on Monday. Dominating the play at times, Russia had a pair of nice scoring chances off the stick of Artur Lauta, but Hill put in a spotless opening 20 minutes, stopping all six shots he faced.

Team WHL had a harder time generating offence early on Tuesday, registering nine shots on goaltender Maxim Tretiak in a scoreless first period.

Things opened up in the second as Team WHL came out with a purpose, breaking the silence at 3:24 on a fine display of hand-eye coordination by Jansen Harkins (Prince George Cougars). The Winnipeg Jets prospect camped out in the slot, working with linemate Reid Gardiner (Prince Albert Rainders) to bang in a rebound inspired by Brayden Point's (Moose Jaw Warriors) shot from the high slot.

Russia came alive at the midway point of the second, solving Hill on a goal by Regina Pats defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy. The 18 year-old snapped a low wrister through the legs of Hill from the high slot at 9:55 after Russia gained the zone off the rush.

Egor Yakovlev gave the Russians their first lead of the series just 44 seconds later as a turnover inside the Russian blueline cost the WHL. Arkhip Nekolenko gained the puck in transition and found Yakovlev on his off-wing as he snapped a shot past the blocker of the WHL netminder.

The vision of New York Islanders first round pick Mathew Barzal (Seattle Thunderbirds) put some life back into the Sandman Centre under a minute later as he found familiar Kamloops favourite Deven Sideroff in the slot as his deke to the forehand drew Tretiak out of position for the finish. The Kamloops crowd roared as the Blazers forward drew the score even at two.

Sideroff's goal seemed to ignite the WHL effort as they carried the play for the remainder of the second, taking the shooting column 18-9 for a two period total of 27-15.

Russia nearly seized an opportunity to reclaim the lead in the opening shifts of the third frame as Daniil Vovchenko opted to shoot on a two-on-one rush, snapping a shot into the glove of Hill who preserved the tie with a timely save.

Team WHL had their chances as well, with Ryan Gropp (Seattle Thunderbirds) being denied on a point black chance in the slot by Tretiak just shy of the midway point of the third.

Hawryluk provided the difference maker with 3:13 remaining in regulation, picking off an errant feed at the offensive blueline before breaking in to beat Tretiak upstairs as the Sandman Centre erupted.

Hill sealed the deal with his big denial of Afonasevsky in the slot, setting up an odd-man rush in transition as Pollock hit the open net to secure the victory.

Team WHL controlled the shot clock 39-20 as Tretiak made 35 saves on the night. Arizona Coyotes prospect Adin Hill turned aside 18 shots at the opposite end to record the win.

Team WHL forward Collin Shirley (Kamloops Blazers) set a new CHL Canada Russia Series mark for WHL players, registering his fifth point of the series with an assist in the victory. Shirley joins Jonathan Huberdeau (QMJHL, 2012) and Luke Adam (QMJHL, 2009) as one of three players to finish the series with five points, just one shy of the all-time mark.

The WHL wins back-to-back games against Russia for the first time since 2009, setting the table for Team OHL with a 6-0 lead in points headed into Thursday's Game 3 of the series in Owen Sound.

Catch Game 3 of the 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series live on Sportsnet 360 on Thursday at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT.

2015 CHL Canada Russia Series

Game 1 – Monday, November 9 at Kelowna, BC - WHL wins 7-3
WHL Player of the Game - Collin Shirley (1G, 3A)
Russia Player of the Game - Artur Lauta (1G)
Game Summary

Game 2 –Tuesday, November 10 at Kamloops, BC - WHL wins 4-2
WHL Player of the Game - Jayce Hawryluk (1G, 1A)
Russia Player of the Game - Maxim Tretiak (35 SV)
Game Summary

Game 3 – Thursday,November 12 at Owen Sound, ON

Game 4 –Monday, November 16 at Windsor, ON

Game 5 – Tuesday, November 17 at Rouyn-Noranda, QC

Game 6 – Thursday, November 19 at Halifax, NS

Click here for CHL Canada Russia Series Photo Galleries

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For news, roster information and ticket details, please visit

The 2015 Canada Russia series is supported by CHL associate sponsors, BMO Bank of Montreal, Cooper Tire, and Sherwin-Williams.  All games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

For more information including how to purchase tickets please visit

COREY ST. LAURENT | Senior Manager, Communications

Western Hockey League

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