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Russia's Sorokin could start WJC gold-medal game

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

TORONTO -- Russia coach Valeri Bragin told the Russian media that he remains undecided about his starting goaltender for the gold-medal game against Canada in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers) has started the two medal-round games and has performed well, stopping 65 of 68 shots in victories against the United States (3-2) in the quarterfinals and Sweden (4-1) in the semifinals. He has stopped 120 of 126 shots for the tournament, with a 1.50 goals-against average and .952 save percentage.

Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders), meanwhile, has been waiting patiently for his moment. The 6-2, 168-pound left-handed catching goalie was the youngest starter in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2013-14 and this season, at age 19, has done well again for Metallurg Novokuznetsk. He has a 2.41 GAA and .903 save percentage in two games for Russia at the WJC, and starred in a 2-1 overtime victory against Canada in a pre-tournament game Dec. 19 behind a 52-save performance. It wouldn't surprise the Russia media covering the WJC in Toronto if Bragin started Sorokin.

Canada goalie Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) took the loss against Russia in the exhibition game. Fucale was confirmed as the starter for the gold-medal game by Canada coach Benoit Groulx on Monday.

"I think he's been playing solid since Day One and he has the experience; it's easy for me to see with him that it's his moment and he's ready," Groulx said of Fucale.

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