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Koper, Hamilton score as WHL all-stars beat Russia 2-1 in Super Series @NHL

VICTORIA, B.C. - Two third-period goals lifted the Western Hockey League all-stars to a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Russian selects in the fifth game of the Super Series.

Spokane's Levko Koper and Medicine Hat's Wacey Hamilton scored in the third period, to put the Canadian Hockey League within a game of completing the six game sweep of the Russian selects.

The WHL all-stars will play their second game against Russia, and conclude the Super Series on Thursday in Kelowna, B.C.

Koper scored in the first minute of the third period to break a scoreless tie, while Hamilton scored the game-winner at 8:58.

Calvin Pickard came within 30 seconds of recording the first shutout of the series but Russia's Kirill Petrov scored an unassisted goal at 19:27 of the third.

Pickard's brother, Chet, shut out the Russians in last year's series with a 16-save performance in a 5-0 WHL win on Nov. 26 in Swift Current, Sask.

The younger Pickard made 18 saves in Wednesday night's victory.

Russia's Igor Bobkov made 38 stops and was peppered through the first two periods of play.

Russia arrived in Victoria on Tuesday night and their fatigue from the cross-continent journey was evident in the first period as the WHL outshot their opponents 17-2.

Bobkov would survive several close calls through the first two periods. Tyson Barrie rang a slapshot off the crossbar early in the second. Later in the period, Koper slipped through Russia's defence on a breakaway, but sailed his wrist shot just over the net.

Koper, a seventh round draft choice of the Atlanta Thrashers, atoned for his earlier miss by beating the Russian goalie with a hard wrist shot early in the third. It was the first shot Bobkov faced in the period and 29th of the night.

Brayden Schenn and Jared Cowan picked up the assists.

Eight minutes later, Hamilton beat Bobkov high off a scramble, with Linden Vey and Tyson Barrie picking up the assists.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League all-stars took the first two games of the series against the Russians, while the Ontario Hockey League won Games 3 and 4.

NOTES: Five-time Stanley Cup champion Grant Fuhr was named honorary WHL captain. ... Fuhr played two seasons with the Victoria Cougars (1979-81).

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