Canada and Russia met in the second game of the day and provided an electric game. After being tied at three after two periods of play, Canada pulled away, scoring three times in the third, including twice on the power play, to earn the victory by a score of 6-3.
"It's huge. In any tournament, the first game is the most important one," said Erik Gudbranson
, the Panthers third choice overall in this past summer's draft. "We've known that growing up in minor hockey. Win your first and you're in the driver seat so we felt really good about that. It was a really important win for us and we're going to move on from there very positively."
"It's always good to have a good test like this," said forward Quinton Howden
, the Panthers third first-round pick (#25 overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. "The big games are always the funnest. When you're battling to win, those are always the ones you want to play. It was a good test for us. A good start and we're going to keep continuing down the stretch."
The place was bumping from even before the face-off but what do you expect when Canada is playing and Buffalo is less than ten minutes to the Canada border.
Canada took on Russia in the tournament's second game and the pro-Canada crowd made it a home game despite the away status of the jerseys and the line-changes on the ice.
Cheers went up for hits, saves and nice shots by the 2010 silver medalists. Russia however would silence the critics early in ghe game as Yuri Urychev scored with a rifle of a shot from the left face-off circle 3:57 into the contest.
Canada would answer late in the first period when Sabres prospect Marcus Foligno rebounded a shot past Igor Bobkov while on a Canadian power play with 2:05 left.
The Canadian's captain would give them their first lead of the game as he wound up, fake shot (several times) and then ripped one that went off the boards behind the net, bounced back and in off of Bobkov's skate 10:35 into the second.
The Russian's tied it at two just 1:16 later when Nikita Dvurechenski scored on a rush, beating Roy five-hole.
Entering the tournament, Gudbranson was seen by the Canada coaches and media as more of a shut down defender. But he did more than that in giving Canada a 3-2 lead. Set up by Howden, Gudbranson let one rip from just inside the blue line that beat the Russian netminder.
"It was nice. I'm not counted on to score goals here but it's always good to chip in like that," said Gudbranson. "In terms of a team group, that was a great game for us. It started from a great play down low and quick puck movement so it was a good play."
"It was a beautiful shot from him," said Howden. "Cout's (Sean Couturier) made a nice pass up the wall and I just kind of jumped off the bench and I heard Guddy yelling so I threw it across and he let a really good shot go and it went in."
The Russians answered back once again with 3:08 left in the period as Danil Sobchenko poked home a rebound, setting up the third period overdrive by the Canadians.
"We knew coming in that Russia was going to be our big test for us," said Howden. "It was going to be a big game. Canada has obviously had some big tests in the past with Russia so we wanted to come in and start with a bang. The first period we kind of got our feet under us and the second period we started rolling and kept going from there."
"We came into the room and basically said that we have to tighten up a little bit," said Gudbranson. "We weren't playing a bad game, there was a lot of positives that we were doing but the nerves were still a little bit there. We were making little mistakes, little breakdowns in our defensive end. We really turned up the pace and pushed it to them in the third."
In the third, it was all Canada as Ryan Johansen chipped the puck over Bobkov from just outside the crease 3:46 into the period, Brayden Schenn upped the lead to two 2:28 later on another power play and Curtis Hamilton scored with 27 seconds left off a face-off win by Schenn.