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World Cup of Hockey 2016 Game Recap: North America 3 - Russia 4

Sergei Bobrovsky keeps Russian hopes alive with 42 save effort

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Russia v Team North America Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Russia entered the game needing a victory to avoid elimination at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and they had to do it against the tournament darlings in Team North America. A high scoring affair was anticipated and both teams delivered. North America controlled the game early, but a 4 goal 2nd period was just enough to give Russia the win.

First Period

Team North America started with solid puck possession and controlled the game for the first 5 minutes. After a failed power play opportunity, Mark Scheifele moved the puck up to Connor McDavid, who blew past Pavel Datsyuk on the side boards, and sent a backhand saucer pass to Auston Matthews to open the scoring.

Not many opportunities in the first 10 minutes for Team Russia. Alexander Ovechkin looked to be on the break, but blew a tire crossing the red line.

Russia settled in after the halfway point of the 1st. They started throwing the body more and creating turnovers which lead to some prolonged stretches of pressure in the Team North America zone. However, Russia was limited to chances mostly from the outside and Matt Murray was able to control the pace of the period.

Larkin had two chances in the period. His best was on a 3 v 1 break, where he was denied by Sergei Bobrovsky after the initial play was broken up by a hustling/ very out of position Alexey Marchenko.

After 1: North America 1 - Russia 0

Second Period

Two penalties back-to-back by Team North America started the period. Nothing came of it for Russia and the first big chance of the period went to McDavid on the breakaway.

It was all Russia after the breakaway save by Bobrovsky. Vladislav Namestnikov, playing his first game of the tournament, picked up the rebound, shot it off the post, only to be kicked in by Murray.

Goal #2 for Russia comes off a bad bounce from the glass stanchion. Puck landed on Nikita Kucherov’s stick and he put the puck past Murray for the lead.

Goal #3 for Russia. Evgeny Kuznetsov snuck by Morgan Rielly and scored a narrow angle goal. Murray could have held more ground on the play as his defense had the player in the slot locked down.

4 goals on 4 consecutive shots for Russia ended the night for Murray. Vladimir Tarasenko ripped the puck through a Datsyuk screen for the goal. Datsyuk also received the primary assist.

John Gibson came in to replace Murray in net. 2 minutes later, North America got a goal back as Rielly picked up the puck, after a Marchenko blocked shot, and buried it.

Team North America ended the disastrous period on the power play and was almost able to grab another goal with seconds left. But the bad bounce off the stanchion and the weak goal by Murray left Team North America down two heading into the 3rd.

After 2: North America 2 - Russia 4

Third Period

3 minutes into the 3rd, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was able to bat a puck in on the power play to make it a 1 goal game.

An Artem Anisimov delay of game penalty gave Team North America a 5 v 3 advantage with 8:29 to play. Bobrovsky made some key saves on the kill to keep the Russian lead.

Gibson stood tall in the final few minutes of the game as Team North America took some chances to get scoring opportunities. A penalty by Dmitry Orlov with 40 seconds left combined with an empty net gave North America a 6 v 4 advantage. Bobrovsky made some stellar saves to end the game an preserve the win.

Final: North America 3 - Russia 4

The game changed when Russia picked up the physical play and started creating turnovers. Some bad bounces and underwhelming play from Matt Murray helped Russia score 4 times in the 2nd. North America controlled the play after the 4th Russian goal, but they were not able to overcome their unfortunate 2nd period.

Murray was the clear #1 goalie heading into the tournament for North America, but Gibson’s solid play in the 3rd could make it a slightly difficult decision for Todd McLellan.

Both team are now tied with 2 points (1-1 record) in Group B.

Russia plays Finland on Thursday and North America plays Sweden on Wednesday. Both games at 3 p.m and on ESPN.