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World Juniors 2019: Canada loses 2-1 to Russia on New Year’s Eve

Russia's Pavel Shen, left, checks Canada's Barrett Hayton during second period IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — Pavel Shen scored the winning goal to give Russia a 2-1 victory over Canada in their final regulation round game at the 2019 World Juniors.

Shen’s goal with nine minutes left broke a deadlock that lasted much of the game after each team traded goals early in the first period.

Cody Glass beat Russian goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov to open the scoring for Canada at the 2:20 mark.

Canada’s MacKenzie Entwistle (16) checks Russia’s Vasili Podkolzin (11) during second period IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Russia’s Grigori Denisenko scored a power-play goal three minutes later after a boarding penalty on Morgan Frost for hitting from behind. Frost also received a 10-minute misconduct.

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READ MORE: IIHF World Juniors 2018-19: Players to watch, Team Canada schedule and everything else you need to know

The Canadians outshot the Russians 13-4 in the second period with Kochetkov making several key saves — including an acrobatic stop to deny Maxime Comtois — to keep the game tied.

Shen broke the tie with a tremendous individual effort to beat the Canadian defence and goaltender Michael DiPietro, who was named Canada’s player of the game.

Russia’s Pavel Shen (16) celebrates his goal during third period IIHF world junior hockey championship action against Canada, in Vancouver on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Russia finished atop Group A and will face Slovakia, the fourth-place team in Group B, in the quarterfinals.

Canada finished second in the group and will face Finland, who lost to the U.S. on Monday night.

Over the years, New Year’s Eve games have become the marquee event of the opening round of the World Juniors.

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READ MORE: IIHF World Juniors 2018-19: Players to watch, Team Canada schedule and everything else you need to know

After the game, DiPietro noted that the team may have let the big-game atmosphere at Rogers Arena get the better of them.

“We have to do a better job managing our emotions,” he said.

“Most of our penalties happened in the first [period] when the emotions kind of got high, which is understandable. It’s a great atmosphere to play in and tempers were flaring.”

Comtois said that Canada may have “bought a little bit too much into the hype.”

Comtois, who has been a sparkplug for Team Canada, drew plenty of attention throughout the game. He went to the penalty box twice in the first period, the first for embellishing a hit from star Russian forward Klim Kostin.

During an interview on Russian television, Kostin reportedly accused Comtois of diving, comparing him to Brazilian soccer star Neymar.

After the game, Comtois sloughed off the comments.

He cross-checked me,” he said. “That’s it.”

Comtois hopes a bit of adversity could do the team some good, noting that Canada lost an opening round game to the U.S. at last year’s world juniors before going on to win gold.
WATCH: World Juniors kick off in Vancouver, Victoria

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World Juniors kick off in Vancouver, Victoria – Dec 26, 2018

Canada and Russia last met on New Year’s Eve back in 2013 when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had three assists in a 4-1 win.

The last time the two countries met in international competition at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, Canada thumped Russia 7-3 in the quarterfinal of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

READ MORE: World Junior Hockey Championships returning to Alberta in 2021

Defenceman Jared McIsaac sat out Monday’s game after he received a one-game suspension for a hit on Jachym Kondelik in Canada’s 5-1 win over the Czech Republic.

Canada will face Finland in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on TSN.

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