PACIFIC EDGES RUSSIA IN U-17 TOURNAMENT

Sun Dec 30

Pacific 8 - Russia 7 (OT)
 
HICKETTS IS HERO AS PACIFIC SURVIVES RUSSIAN COMEBACK

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals was the overtime hero for Pacific on Saturday night, scoring on a power play 59 seconds into the extra period to give the Canadian side an 8-7 win over Russia in the opening game for both at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Hicketts tapped home a feed from Brycen Martin (Calgary, Alta./Swift Current, WHL) to end a wild game that Pacific led 7-4 early in the third period before the defending gold medallists battled back to force overtime.

Conner Bleackley had a pair of goals for Pacific, scoring twice in the first period to erase an early 2-0 Russian lead. 

Reid Duke (Calgary, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL), Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL), Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, B.C./Penticton, BCHL), Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) and Tanner MacMaster (Calgary, Alta./Camrose, AJHL) did the rest of the scoring for Pacific.

Gropp, MacMaster and Point added assists to their goals for two-point nights, while Martin chipped in with four helpers.

The Russians spread around the scoring, with goals from eight different players – Yegor Orlov, Ilya Zinoviev, Nikita Yazkov, Maxim Lazarev, Radel Fazleyev, Ivan Nikolishin and Eduard Nasybullin.

Zinoviev, Lazarev and Fazleyev finished with a goal and an assist each for Russia.

Payton Lee (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) went the distance for Pacific, making 34 saves, while Maxim Tretiak and Maxim Sidorov combined for 20 saves in the Russian net. 

The 15 combined goals are the most in a World Under-17 Hockey Challenge game since Quebec beat Slovakia 10-6 in a 2009 preliminary round game in Campbell River, B.C.

Pacific will enjoy a day off Sunday before returning to action against Sweden on Monday afternoon in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while the Russians will face West on Sunday at the Centre Marcel-Dionne (7:30 p.m. ET).

In other action at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Saturday, Team West suffered a 4-0 loss to Sweden in their opening round-robin game.  Team West features 14 players currently playing the Western Hockey League. 

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Sweden 4 - West 0
    
ERIKSSON MAKES 27 SAVES FOR SHUTOUT AS SWEDEN BLANKS WEST

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Gustaf Franzén scored twice and Jesper Eriksson made 27 saves for the shutout as Sweden opened Group A play at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 4-0 win over West on Saturday afternoon.

The Swedes earned their fourth win all time over West – the Scandinavians previously posted victories in 1986 (8-0), 1988 (9-8) and 2010 (5-2). The teams also met in 1992, but the score is unknown.

Henrik Törnqvist and Anton Karlsson scored the other goals for Sweden, which converted three times on the power play and took control with a trio of second period goals, breaking open a 1-0 game.

Ty Edmonds (Winnipeg, Man./Virden, MJHL) went the distance in goal for West, finishing with 36 saves. The Canadian side was outshot 33-19 in the first two periods before holding an 8-7 advantage over the final 20 minutes.

The loss is the seventh in a row for West at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge – it lost the fifth-place game at the 2011 tournament before going 0-5 and falling to 10th spot at last year’s event in Windsor, Ont.

The Swedes will look for a 2-0 start when they take on Finland in an all-European match-up on Sunday morning in Drummondville (1:30 p.m. ET), while West meets the defending gold medallists from Russia in Sunday’s late game at Centre Marcel Dionne (7:30 p.m. ET).