Yakupov, Russia Defeat Team QMJHL


Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Captain Nail Yakupov scored, and fellow NHL prospects Mikhail Grigorenko, Maxim Shalunov and Alexander Khokhlachev added goals as Team Russia defeated Team QMJHL in the opening game of the 2012 Subway Super Series.

Center Mikhail Grigorenko, who was drafted by the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in the first round of this year’s entry draft, opened the scoring with a nifty goal at 9:49 of the first period to give Russia the lead. Valentin Zykov, a 2013 draft pick currently playing with the QMJHL’s Baie-Commeau Drakkar, and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Anton Zlobin, assisted on the goal.

Oilers prospect and first-overall pick Nail Yakupov added a goal just over a minute later to make it 2-0 in favor of Russia.

It would stay that way for the rest of the first period, but a power play early in the second period gave the QMJHL a chance to come back, and Blainville-Boisbriand defenseman Xavier Ouellet took advantage of the extra man on his home turf. Ouellet, a prospect of the Detroit Red Wings, scored with the assists credited to Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau and 2013 draft pick Anthony Mantha.

Team Russia would score the next three goals – two in the second period before adding a power play halfway through the third period – to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Maxim Shalunov (CHI), Mikhail Naumenkov and Alexander Khokhlachev (BOS) tallied the goals for Russia, while Grigorenko and Yakupov each tallied an assist.

By the time the halfway mark of the third period struck, Russia looked to be in command and making a strong push to take the first game of the series. QMJHL center Jean-Sebastian Dea, however, wasn’t ready to give it up, as he scored on the power play at the 14:39 mark of the final period. Huberdeau and Ouellet were credited with the assists.

Just under three minutes later, Valentin Zykov tallied his second point of the night – and first goal of the series – to give Russia the 6-2 lead, and that’s how the game would end.

Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevski stopped 31 of 33 shots in the win, while QMJHL netminder Etienne Marcoux had 21 saves.

Seven players for Russia had a plus-2 rating on the night, with one – Valentin Zykov – getting a plus-3. There were no minus-players on the team, while there were no plus-players on the QMJHL team.

The teams will meet again on Wednesday in Val-d’Or at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Sportsnet and NHL Network in the USA.