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Tired Canadians salvage 4-4 tie with Russia in Game 7 of Super Series

NHL.com @NHL

RED DEER, Alta. (CP) - The goal of winning every game of the Super Series is gone for Canada's junior hockey team, but going undefeated is still a possibility.

Canada pulled out a 4-4 tie against Russia on Friday in Game 7 in a see-saw battle in which the hosts twice had to come from behind to get the point and sit 6-0-1 heading into Sunday's final game in Vancouver (Sportsnet, 8 p.m. ET).

"We've got one game left. We've got to make sure we win it," said forward Brandon Sutter, who briefly gave Canada a 3-2 lead in the second period before Russia countered with a pair of goals.

Sam Gagner of the London Knights salvaged the tie with a power-play goal early in the third period for his sixth of the series.

Kyle Turris of the University of Wisconsin and Logan Pyett of the Regina Pats also scored for Canada. John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals had two assists.

Vyatcheslav Voinov, Evgeni Bodrov, Maxim Mamin and Alexander Vasyunov replied for the Russians for the most goals they have scored in a game this series.

"As a coach and as a player you want to win and you hate losing. It was a good point for us today," Russian head coach Sergei Nemchinov said.

Knights goaltender Steve Mason played half a game for Canada and allowed two goals on five shots before Lewiston's Jonathan Bernier was rotated in. He turned away 12 of 14 shots to get the tie.

Russian goalie Vadim Zhelobnyuk made 36 saves.

The game was set up to be a storybook conclusion to Brent Sutter's junior coaching career in Red Deer.

While he'll continue to own the Rebels franchise he bought in 1999, he's given up coaching and managing the team to become the new head coach of the NHL's New Jersey Devils.

He'll join the Devils next week after this series concludes. He was honoured following the game by Hockey Canada for his 18-0-1 record at the helm of Canada's junior hockey team, including the back-to-back world junior hockey championships of 2005 and 2006.

No other coach has been as successful coaching Canada's junior team. Sutter has been a master at getting the most out of his teams but a tie was the best his team could muster Friday.

"Russia played hard and our team looked a little tired tonight," Sutter observed. "They got a couple weak goals on us.

"But all those things you put together, it was a really good hockey game. They deserved to get the tie and we fought like heck to get it."

The Russians used their speed to spread Canada's defence out around their own net and the hosts' penalty killing wasn't as dominant as it had been earlier in the series as the visitors scored two goals on six chances a man up.

Brandon Sutter's goal at 16:31 of the second period briefly gave Canada the lead and ignited the Centrium as the Carolina Hurricanes' draft pick has played for his father there the past two seasons.

But Mamin tied the game just 17 seconds later to kill Canada's momentum and Vasyunov, a New Jersey Devils draft pick, put Russia ahead with a power-play goal late in the second period.

Auxiliary seating was added to the Enmax Centrium on Friday to boost capacity from 5,800 to 7,000. The building was full with the exception of a few empty seats.

Canada fell behind 2-0 before Turris halved the deficit with 32 seconds remaining in the first period. It was the first time Canada had trailed since they were down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of Game 1 in Ufa, Russia.

Since winning the series Tuesday in Winnipeg with an 8-1 victory, the Canadians have had to manufacture other motivations for sticking to Sutter's defence-first game plan.

On Friday, the series looked like it had gone on too long for Canada.

"We really wanted to win all eight and I think people were really starting to underestimate the Russians," Tavares said. "The games have been really tough, except maybe for Game 5 when we blew them out."

After a turnover in the neutral zone, Mason lost a footrace for the puck with Bodrov, who had an open net to score Russia's second goal at 17:10.

Leland Irving of the Everett Silvertips will play the full game Sunday and has earned it, said Brent Sutter, because he played for Canada's team that won gold at the world junior championship in January.

This series commemorates the 35th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union. In Game 7 of that series, Canada edged the USSR 4-3 in Moscow.

CP player of the game - Brandon Sutter. A smart, hard-working shift on a penalty kill in the first period drew an ovation from the Centrium and he provided his team with an opening to take control of the game with a go-ahead goal in the second period.

Notes - Canada's scratches were goaltender Leland Irving, defenceman Ty Wishart and Brad Marchand . . . Russia's scratches were defenceman Kirill Tupulov, Ivan Vishnevsky, forwards Artem Anisimov, Vyacheslav Soloduhkin and goaltender Semen Varlamov . . . Hockey Canada said Friday that only 400 tickets remained for Sunday's game at GM Place.

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