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Russia suffers first loss in highly anticipated matchup versus Canada

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

Despite valiant effort from the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects representing Team Russia at the 2013 World Junior Championships, the host nation suffered its first loss of the tournament on Monday by a 4-1 score against Team Canada.

Russia will now play in the quarterfinals on January 2 against Switzerland while Canada will play the next day against the winner of the United States-Czech Republic game.

Bolts forward prospect Nikita Kucherov had the only goal for the Russians, and also added three shots on goal and earned a plus-one rating on the night. Tampa Bay’s defensive prospects Artem Sergeev and Nikita Nesterov were both held off the score sheet. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, was rested in favor of teammate Andrei Makarov.

Canada drew first blood on the scoreboard soon after Russia drew first blood on the ice. Valeri Nichushkin drilled Canadian defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon into the boards from behind at 11:44, earning a five-minute major and game misconduct in the process.

Canada’s power play then went to work, firing several good shots on Makarov. Finally, Dougie Hamilton’s one-timer from the point beat the goalie high over the shoulder at 14:04. Less than two minutes later Canada extended its lead when Mark Schiefele scooped in his own rebound off to the side of the net.

Jonathan Drouin and Jonathan Huberdeau also added goals for the Canadians, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked up three assists.

Also in action on Monday was Team Switzerland, led by Lightning forward prospect Tanner Richard, which was edged out 4-3 in overtime by the Czech Republic.

Richard recorded one shot on goal and won six faceoffs, but was held off the score sheet.

The Czechs now have eight points in Group A. The Swiss, however, still made the Playoff Round since the Swedes beat Finland in regulation time.

Switzerland heroically rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to send the game to extra time. But it wasn't enough, as the Swiss lost in extra time for the third straight game.

The Czechs opened the scoring in the first period on a goal by Matej Beran and although the Swiss tied it 1-1 in the second, the Czechs went out to a two-goal lead after scoring twice in succession to break away momentarily.

It wouldn’t last long, as a pair of Swiss goals in the final 20 minutes evened things out again and sent the contest into the extra frame, where Tomas Hertl emerged as the hero with the game-winning goal.

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