Breclav, Czech Rep. – Two undefeated teams put their records on the line for gold Saturday as Russian netminder Yaroslav Askarov made 35 saves to backstop his team to its first Hlinka Gretzky Cup championship since 1995.
Though Canada outshot Russia 37-13, Askarov was the answer in a 3-2 decision as Alexander Pashin scored twice while Vasili Ponomaryov had a goal and an assist.
“The first three games here were big time highs for our team and we were able to build a lot of chemistry. We played some tough opponents in the medal round and really had to dig deep,” said captain Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters). “The semifinal was obviously a big test for us, but we came out today and gave everything we had in the final game. Unfortunately it just did not go our way.”
Pashin opened the scoring 3:45 into the first period as Russia led 1-0 after one period despite being outshot 14-7.
Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves) tied things up on the power play 3:03 into the second with assists from Connor McClennon (Winnipeg ICE) and Hendrix Lapierre (Chicoutimi Sagueneens) but Ponomaryov reinstated the Russian lead five minutes later, giving them a 2-1 lead after two.
Pashin’s second of the game was the eventual game winner that came 8:38 into the third before Canada’s Jean-Luc Foudy (Windsor Spitfires) cut the deficit to one with five minutes to go.
Canada outshot Russia 13-3 in the third period but Askarov came up with some big saves to secure Russian gold and send Canada home with silver for the first time since the Russians last won in 1995.
Russian blue line Daniil Chayka (Guelph Storm) earned player of the game honours for his club while Drysdale claimed Canada’s honours.
Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) finished second in tournament scoring behind teammate Hendrix Lapierre (Chicoutimi Sagueneens), registering nine points and an event-leading seven goals over five contests.
Canada played to an overall record of 4-1, defeating Finland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Sweden in a Semi-Final shootout thriller en route to a second place finish.
In the event’s 26-year history, Canada has now won 22 gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal.
Saturday’s other Hlinka Gretzky Cup scores:
Bronze Medal Game: Sweden 5, Finland 1
OHL – HLINKA GRETZKY CUP GOLD MEDALISTS (RUSSIA):
Daniil Chayka (Guelph Storm)
Kirill Steklov (London Knights)*
OHL – HLINKA GRETZKY CUP SILVER MEDALISTS (CANADA):
Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves)
Will Cuylle (Windsor Spitfires)
Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters)
Jean-Luc Foudy (Windsor Spitfires)
Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit)
Ryan O’Rourke (Soo Greyhounds)
Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
Donovan Sebrango (Kitchener Rangers)
*– committed to the OHL for 2019-20
For full coverage of the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup visit hlinkagretzkycup.cz.