Tonight I went to see the Canada Russia Challenge Juniors game at Harbour Station. It was a sellout (almost 6500 people, although the real news item was that the 50/50 draw went for over $11,000!)
OK, it wasn’t technically Canada vs. Russia, because it was the Russian All-Stars against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League All-Stars, but that’s pretty close… The game was televised on Sportsnet. You can see their broadcast schedule here.
The Russians are in Canada to play 6 games against Canadian Junior squads, 2 games against the QMJHL All-Stars, two against the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) All-Stars, and the final two against the Western Hockey league (WHL) All-Stars.
It is an interesting idea, having their All-Stars play our All-Stars, but the format is a little bit biased in their favour, since the Russians will be playing together as a team for all six games, giving them time to get their game together, while the three Canadian Junior leagues only play together for two games before going back to their regular league teams. Oh well, it just means that the Russians should get harder to beat the longer they play together, which is fine, because they should be hard to beat or they wouldn’t be worthy adversaries! 🙂
Hope those Western boys bring their game faces and are ready to play!
After losing 5 – 3 to our boys in Sydney Monday night (Nov 17, 2008), at tonight’s game, they proved to be up to the task, beating the QMJHL All-Stars 4 – 3 in an game that could have been even more lopsided in their favour. Both teams looked a bit shaky, missing easy passes and fanning on great opportunities. Probably nerves, there is a lot on the line and the scouts were in the stands watching. Overall, I do think Russia outplayed our boys and deserved the win. The Russians looked stronger and were on top of the Q team more often than they were on their heels. Both goalies played well, and he Q goaltender, Allen, appeared stunning in a few saves on the ice to keep the local boys in the game, but appeared to have a bit of trouble controlling some high shots. The first goal he let in was a high shot over the shoulder as he was sprawled out in the butterfly position.
They play the next game tomorrow night in Guelph. Should be a great game.