The HSBC Arena was rocking from the minute the puck dropped for Team Canada's preliminary-round opener against Russia on Sunday afternoon. Canadian flags and jerseys decorated the place, which was packed wall-to-wall.
The Canada players were fired up, too. So fired up they threw their weight around at every opportunity to the delight of the sea of Canadian red within the arena. The feistiness probably cost them, though, when Russia struck at the 3:57 mark. Russia's Maxim Kitsyn
scored off a turnover in the Canada end. St. Louis Blues
prospect Vladimir Tarasenko
did a nice job keeping the puck in play in Canada's end, taking a hit and forcing the puck to make the play.
Both teams had their opportunities throughout the period, but Canada began to really turn on the heat in the later stages, dictating much of the action in the Russia end. If not for the play of Russia goalie and Anaheim Ducks
prospect Igor Bobkov
, Canada likely would have connected for a few more goals before the first intermission. Buffalo Sabres
prospect Marcus Foligno
finally solved Bobkov when he roofed a rebound over the fallen goalie at 17:55 on the power play. Foligno, who soon might call HSBC Arena his home away from home, leaped into the glass following his goal, which ignited the fans in attendance. Montreal Canadiens
prospect Louis Leblanc
took the initial shot that forced Bobkov down to the ice.
Bobkov made 15 saves in the opening period and Canada's Olivier Roy
turned aside 10 shots.