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Prospects Harrington, Zlobin Solid in 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Team Canada celebrates winning the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge. Photo courtesy of Matthew Murnaghan for Hockey Canada.

Penguins prospect Scott Harrington had a solid series for Canada in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge, which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series and will help determine each country’s roster for the 2013 World Junior Championship.

Harrington, Pittsburgh’s second-round choice (54th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, took a leadership role – wearing a “C” or an “A” for three of the four games – and anchored Canada’s top defensive pairing throughout the tournament. He won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Another Penguins prospect also participated in the challenge, with forward Anton Zlobin representing Russia. The Penguins’ sixth-round pick (173rd overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft also put together a successful series, skating on Russia’s top line with elite prospects Nail Yakupov (the No. 1-overall pick in June) and Mikhail Grigorenko throughout the challenge.

Canada took Games 1 and 4, while Russia won Games 2 and 3. Since it was a four-game series, a 20-minute sudden-death overtime was needed to decide the winner following Tuesday’s Game 4. Canada’s Ryan Strome played the hero, giving his team the series victory.

Games 1 and 2 were played in Yaroslavl, Russia, while Games 3 and 4 took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The series was played as a tribute to Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which was involved in a horrific plane crash last September that claimed the lives of 44 people.

Here’s a short recap of how the Pens prospects fared in each game.

CAN 3, RUS 2

Harrington scored Canada’s second goal in the second period. He was named an alternate captain for Canada and was paired with Xavier Ouellet.

RUS 6, CAN 3

Zlobin opened the scoring just 38 seconds into the second period on the power play to give Russia a lead they never surrendered. Harrington, who anchored the No. 1 defensive pairing with Morgan Rielly, wore the “C” for Canada.

“It was huge. It was a huge honor for myself,” Harrington told TSN about wearing the letter. “I didn’t know going into the game that I’d get it, but I just tried to represent my teammates as best I could. In the end, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get the win.”

RUS 6, CAN 5

Zlobin struck again on special teams, this time potting a shorthanded goal in the second period with an assist from Yakupov. Harrington, who played alongside Ryan Murray, again served as an alternate captain for Canada.

CAN 4, RUS 2

Both Zlobin and Harrington were scoreless this game. Harrington was reunited with his Game 1 D partner, Ouellet, while Zlobin continued to skate with Yakupov and Grigorenko.

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