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Canada is confident after winning first four Super Series games in Russia

NHL.com @NHL

OMSK, Russia (CP) - Brad Marchand was bent on playing himself back into his team's good books Saturday.

The Val-d'Or Foreurs forward scored a pair of goals to lead Canada's junior hockey team to a 4-2 win in Game 4 of its Super Series against Russia.

The victory capped a sweep of the four games in Russia. The Canadian leg of the eight-game event opens Tuesday in Winnipeg.

Marchand had taken a misconduct for illegal stickwork after the whistle to open Game 3. After serving his 10 minutes, he'd spent a lot of time on the bench that game.

"After I took that 10, I thought I had to redeem myself," Marchand said.

He and his teammates head home confident of winning the series commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series because Russia's best effort so far wasn't enough to beat the Canadians on Saturday.

"It's going to be tough for them to win the series now being down four games," forward John Tavares said.

Another win Tuesday and all that would be left on the line for the Canadian players would be pride and the chance to play for their country again at the world junior hockey championships in December, as they are auditioning for it in this series.

Lewiston's Jonathan Bernier, who earned the 3-0 shutout in Game 2, will start in net for Game 5. The final three games of the series will be played in Saskatoon, Red Deer, Alta., and Vancouver.

Canadian head coach Brent Sutter said the test is going to come when the team arrives home.

"There's going to be a lot more distractions there and we have to make sure we keep them to a minimum and make sure our players are prepared every night and focused," he said.

Sam Gagner of the London Knights contributed a goal and two assists to Canada's victory. Tavares, of the Oshawa Generals, scored his first goal of the series on the power play.

"Now that I've got that goal, I feel great and I'm really excited to get going and contribute more as the series gets going," Tavares said.

London's Steve Mason picked up his second win of the series on 45 saves, while Russian counterpart Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 27 shots in the loss.

The Russians threw more speed into their forecheck and played with more urgency to open this game as they did not want to lose their fourth straight at home in front of a near-capacity crowd at the 10,000 Arena Omsk.

The opening 15 minutes of Saturday's game was the most entertaining of the series so far as each team attacked and counter-attacked.

Marchand's goal at the end of the first period and Gagner's to open the second had the hosts on their heels again. Tavares's goal later in the second appeared to put the game in the bag for Canada.

But Russia came back with two quick goals in the third period by Alexei Grishin and Maxim Chudinov in a 26-second span starting at 2:29.

Sutter called a timeout and Marchand restored Canada's breathing room at 3:44 with his second of the game.

"The reason why they got the two goals is we got running around in our own zone and lost our coverage," Sutter said. "We gained our composure back and scored that quick goal which was huge and seemed to get us going again."

The Russians need to sustain their first-period effort from Saturday for a full game if they're going to inject some suspense into this series when it reaches Canada.

"I think it was a good lesson for our team," head coach Sergei Nemchinov said though an interpreter. "They were a real team today, but it could be really hard to outplay such a disciplined team as Team Canada is. We need to make less mistakes and then probably we will have success."

The series was the idea of Russian Ice Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak, who wanted to mark the 35th anniversary of the Summit Series.

The USSR won Game 4 of that series 5-3 in Vancouver to take a 2-1-1 lead home with them for the last four games. The Canadian team was soundly booed at Pacific Coliseum prompting Phil Esposito's impassioned post-game interview that galvanized his team and helped get the country behind them.

Canada will wear 1972-style jerseys in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

Hockey Canada has agreed to let the Russians add three players for the Canadian end of the series even though the rosters were to be capped at 26 players. Forwards Alexei Cherepanov and Yegor Averin and defenceman Valeri Zhokov are all out with injury.

The substitutes are Victor Tikhonov, the grandson of the famous Soviet coach of the same name, and two players who were in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season: Kirill Tupulov of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Ruslan Bashkirov of the Quebec Remparts. Bashkirov is a draft pick of the Ottawa Senators.

"We talked about it yesterday that they certainly should be allowed to add more players as long as they're top-end players because we want their best coming over and if something happened to us, we'd be able to do the same," Sutter said.

Canada's roster is at 25 players because forward Angelo Esposito pulled out with an injury before training camp.

CP player of the game - Sam Gagner. The Edmonton Oilers draft pick worked hard to score Canada's second goal by not giving up in traffic around the Russian crease. He also set Tavares up with a tape-to-tape pass for a goal in the third.

Notes: Defenceman Logan Pyett, forward Zach Boychuk and goaltender Leland Irving were Canada's scratches on Saturday . . . Canada is scheduled to leave Omsk at 7 a.m. local time and arrive in Toronto at 7:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, but with the 11-hour time difference, they'll be in transit about 24 hours. The team heads to Winnipeg on Monday.

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