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Bahl helps OHL defeat Russia in junior series

Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect scores in win @NHLdotcom

Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Kevin Bahl scored and the Ontario Hockey League won 4-2 against Russia in the fourth game of the 2017 Canada Russia Series at Sudbury Community Arena on Monday.

Nick Suzuki (Vegas Golden Knights) had two goals and an assist, and Conor Timmins (Colorado Avalanche) had a goal and two assists. Michael DiPietro (Vancouver Canucks) had 23 saves.

Dmitry Sokolov (Minnesota Wild) and Andrei Altybarmakyan (Chicago Blackhawks) scored for Russia. Vladislav Sukhachyov (2018 draft eligible) allowed four goals on 30 shots in 44:40 of ice time. Alexei Melnichuk (2018 draft eligible) saved the three shots he faced in 15:20.

Suzuki, the No. 13 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, scored the game-winning goal, his second, at 4:09 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. He skated in from the Russia blue line and pushed the puck between Sukhachyov's pads.

Bahl, who received a B rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list, scored 31 seconds later. His wrist shot from the left side went through a screen by Jonah Gadjovich (Vancouver Canucks) and into the net to the short side at 4:40 of the third. Bahl (6-foot-6, 231 pounds) has nine assists in 21 games with Ottawa of the OHL.

"Great game to score in," Bahl said. "Can't ask for much more from this experience than to score a goal in a game like this, when it was that close, to solidify the game like that. It was a battle for the puck, [Alex] Formenton (Ottawa Senators) got it in the middle, I was kind of cheating over the boards a bit because I saw him peeling to the middle and sucking in that winger. … Wasn't sure who was in front of the net, he had a great screen, saw the short side open and just let it rip."

Suzuki took a pass from Timmins and scored a power-play goal at 3:12 of the first period, but Russia tied it when Altybarmakyan finished a 2-on-1 rush at 6:36 of the first.

Russia went ahead 2-1 on Sokolov's goal 8:29 of the second period, but Timmins tied it with a power-play goal at 11:53.

The OHL and Russia split their two games in the series. Russia won 5-2 in Owen Sound, Ontario, on Sunday.

"Coming into tonight, we approached it as a must-win," DiPietro said. "We felt we played well [Sunday], today we really focused on bearing down on our chances and coming out on the right end of it. We took it to them the first two periods, the third was pretty even. We did the little things right, followed the coach's game plan and came out on the right end."

The series will conclude with Russia playing two games against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, at Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on Tuesday, and at Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick on Thursday.

The games are part of the process of picking the teams for Canada and Russia for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be played Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Buffalo.

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