KAZAN, Russia - Evgeni Grachev and Pavel Chernov scored third-period goals to lead Russia to a 4-2 win over Canada on Wednesday at the world under-18 hockey championship.
Grachev's goal at 7:43 of the third proved to be the winner for Russia (3-0), which cemented top spot in Pool A and a spot in the semifinal. Chernov rounded out the scoring at 15:35.
As a result of the loss, Canada (2-1) will have to play a quarter-final match Sunday.
"It was a big game because the team that won this game was going to (get) the bye and that's important," said Canadian team coach Pat Quinn. "When you get the bye you've only got one game to win to get to the gold medal game.
"We can't get first place now, Russia has that locked up so we're going to have to play in the quarter-finals and semifinals (to get to the gold medal game) but that's all right. We've made our own bed and now we've got to make sure we look after business."
Dmitri Kugryshev and Andrey Loktionov had the other goals for Russia, thrilling the partisan gathering of 10,000 fans.
Ryan Ellis of Freelton, Ont., and Matthew Duchene of Haliburton, Ont., scored for Canada.
The contest was a chippy one, with Russia accumulating 51 minutes in penalties while Canada had 24. Russian Nikita Filatov received a five-minute major for butt-ending and a game misconduct at 13:33 of the first period.
Kugryshev opened the scoring at 3:23 of the second period before Ellis tied it on a two-man power play at 11:36. Duchene put Canada ahead 2-1 at 13:44 but Loktionov's power-play goal with 50 seconds remaining in the period pulled the Russians even.
"That was a big goal," Quinn said. "Unfortunately, we had two guys lay down on the play.
"You know what? It's hard to play when you're down trying to swim. It just doesn't work. Clearly, they were errors that were made and we have to somehow continue to try to educate our young guys that there are better ways to play."
The loss tarnished a solid effort by Canadian goalie Jake Allen of Fredericton, who stopped 29 shots.
"We've had some good progress there," Quinn said. "In the two exhibition games, quite frankly, I was concerned about our goaltending . . but slowly Jake has been getting a little bit better for us.
"After the 10-minute mark he made a number of good saves for us and was really solid in the net tonight. Even though there were four (goals) against it would be hard to pinpoint any one that you weren't happy with."
Allen said the fact Canada was not only able to stay with Russia for two periods but actually hold a lead against the tournament favourites should bode well if the two teams meet in the medal round.
"If we can play that way for 60 minutes we would've won the hockey game," he said. "I think that shows we can handle them.
"We just have to step up next time."
In other games, it was: Sweden 5, U.S. 4; Switzerland 4, Belarus 2; and Germany 5, Slovakia 4.
Canada's next game is against Slovakia on Friday.
"That's a big game for our confidence and the momentum heading into the quarter-finals on the weekend," Allen said. "It won't be an easy game and we're going to have to work hard."