For the second year in a row, Russia defeated Team CHL in the Subway Super Series, topping off with a 5-2 win over the WHL crew last Thursday in Victoria, BC.
The tournament began on November 5 in Blainville-Boisbriand with the first of two games in which Russia faced off against players for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Just over three thousand spectators witnessed a 6-2 Russian victory in which five players had a goal and assist each.
Maxim Shalunov, Nail Yakupov, Valentin Zykov and Mikhail Grigorenko each scored and added an assist for Russia, while Xavier Ouellet had a goal and assist for the QMJHL. Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevski had 31 saves in the win.
Play continued two days later in Val-d’Or, as the QMJHL team defeated Russia 5-2. Team captain Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and an assist to lead the team, while top 2013 prospect Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists.
Jonathan Drouin also scored a goal and three assists in the win, and four QMJHL players were a plus-2 on the evening. QMJHL goaltending duties were split between Francois Brassard (1 goal allowed on 15 shots) and Zachary Fucale (1 goal allowed on 10 shots), while Vasilevski once again tended net for Russia. He had 27 saves.
With the QMJHL portion of the series finished, it was time for members of the Ontario Hockey League to step up and face the Russian squad. Play continued November 8 in Guelph with the first of two games between the OHL and Russia, with Russia breaking a losing streak and finally defeating the OHL by a score of 2-1. Center Tyler Graovac scored the lone goal for the OHL, while Shalunov and Anton Shenfeld scored for Russia.
The OHL’s goaltending duties were split between Malcom Subban and Jordan Binnington. Subban had a perfect game, stopping all 7 shots faced in 31:59 played. Binnington allowed two goals on 10 shots faced in 27:08, while Russia decided to switch things up and put Igor Ustinski in net at the most-attended game to that point of the tournament.
Teams took to the ice again four days later in Sarnia, largely proclaimed a ‘big game’ since it would mean the return of Nail Yakupov to his former Sarnia Sting arena. Yakupov was met with cheers – and scored the lone goal for Russia – as the OHL defeated Russia by a score of 2-1.
Ryan Strome and Frankie Corrado both scored for the OHL, and yet again, the team split goaltending duties. Jordan Binnington stopped all eight shots, while Jake Paterson allowed one goal on nine shots faced in 29:28. Andrei Vasilevski returned to the net for Russia, stopping 27 of 29 shots.
As the tournament moved to the Western Hockey League portion, it was still up in the air as to which side – the CHL or Russia – would win overall. The WHL squad faced off against Russia first on November 14 in Vancouver, with a scoreless game being pushed into a shootout.
Hunter Shinkaruk, Mark McNeill and Sam Reinhart all scored for Team WHL, while goaltender Laurent Brossoit stopped all three shots faced in the shootout to secure the win for the WHL. Over 11 thousand fans attended the game, which would end up being the most-attended of the series.
The final game could have swung the balance of the series in either direction, but a commanding 5-2 win for Team Russia allowed the Russian team to move to victory and take the series.
The November 15 game in Victoria saw Ty Rattie and Adam Lowry score for the WHL, while Mikhail Naumenkov, Andrei Sigarev, Yaroslav Kosov, Alexander Khokhlachev and Kirill Dyakov all scored for Russia. Andrei Makarov stopped 22 shots of 24 he faced, giving Russia the win. Team WHL split their goaltending duties, with Laurent Brossoit allowing three goals on 13 shots and Erie Comrie allowing one goal on 18 shots faced.
Russia won the tournament, earning 10 points to the CHL’s eight.
Overall, QMJHL captain Jonathan Huberdeau finished the series with two goals and three assists in two games, leading all teams. Mikhail Naumenkov, Maxim Shalunov, Andrei Sigarev and Nail Yakupov all led Team Russia with two goals and two assists each in six games. Ty Rattie’s two-point performance led the WHL, and Ryan Strome’s two points in two games led the OHL squad.
Now what? Start counting down to next year’s Subway Series, of course.