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Russia takes final game against QMJHL

Canada wins series in shootout

NHL.com @NHL

Columbus Blue Jackets forward prospect Vitaly Abramov scored the game-winning goal with 2:57 remaining in the third period, and Russia defeated the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League 2-1 in the sixth and final game of the 2017 Canada Russia Series at Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick on Thursday.

Alexei Polodyan, a prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft, scored for Russia. Alexei Melnichuk (2018 draft eligible) made 23 saves.

Pascal Laberge (Philadelphia Flyers) scored for the QMJHL. Samuel Harvey (2018 draft eligible) made 31 saves.

In addition to a split against the QMJHL, Russia split two games against the Western Hockey League and two against the Ontario Hockey League, which meant a shootout was needed to decide the series winner. QMJHL forward Maxime Comtois (Anaheim Ducks) scored in the third round, and Harvey stopped five Russia shooters, including a game-ending save against forward Mikhail Maltsev (New Jersey Devils) to help the Canadian Hockey League win the series for the third straight year.

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.

"The caliber of the games here in that series are a lot closer to what it's going to be at the tournament," said QMJHL coach Dominque Ducharme, who will coach Canada at the WJC. "We needed to see how guys adjust, how guys respond to higher pace of game, more physical game, stronger guys. I think it's a good evaluation tool. Every game that was played across the country, they were great to look at those players and help us make decisions in a couple weeks."

Abramov gave Russia the lead when he lifted the rebound of a shot by German Rubtsov (Philadelphia Flyers) to finish a 2-on-1 at 17:03 of the third period.

"Tight game, really intense," Ducharme said. "We knew they would be better (than a 3-1 QMJHL win Tuesday) and I thought they were. I thought we played even better than we did the first night. That was our challenge. We responded well to that. Broken play at the end of the game gave them a 2-on-1 and they scored on that play."

Russia took a 1-0 lead at 8:16 of the first period on a goal by Polodyan, who finished a give-and-go with Andrei Altybarmakyan with a shot from the left side. Polodyan led the series with six points (three goals, three assists) in six games.

The QMJHL tied it 1-1 at 10:20 when Laberge got into the slot and redirected a shot by Jocktan Chainey (New Jersey Devils).

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