Kamloops, BC – The Prince Albert Raiders made their mark on Team WHL’s win in Game One of the 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series on Monday night.
Ian Scott made 27 saves and Brett Leason registered an assist on the game-winning goal as Team WHL downed Russia 2-1 in Kamloops, BC at the Sandman Centre.
After a furious pace opened the first period, the two teams exchanged goals as top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Dylan Cozens opened the scoring for Team WHL.
Jett Woo’s point shot attempt was blocked, causing the puck to fall loose in the slot where a waiting Cozens snapped it past Russia’s Daniil Tarasov with six minutes to go.
Russia needed just 26 seconds to draw even though as captain and Boston Bruins prospect Pavel Shen wristed a clean shot past Scott off the rush. Stepan Starkov drew the lone assist on the goal as things were knotted at one after one.
Things slowed down in the second, but Tarasov used his big 6-foot-4 frame when called upon to keep the score even into the third period where WHL scoring leaders Leason and Trey Fix-Wolansky helped break the offensive silence.
Stationed to the left of Tarasov’s goal, Bellerive put a quick release on a Leason pass from below the goal line, snapping a shot inside the far post past Tarasov as 4,438 at the Sandman Centre looked on.
With the assist, Leason continued his impressive start to the year by keeping his streak of registering a point in every game alive.
A late Russian penalty would stall their comeback momentum as Team WHL held on for a 2-1 win, giving the CHL a 3-0 series lead in points to start things off.
Parker Kelly was his usual self on the ice for Team WHL, albeit wearing an unfamiliar No. 28. The Ottawa Senators prospect had one shot on goal and saw time on both special team units, including on a penalty killing unit that stymied Russia’s offence.
The 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series now shifts to the Langley Events Centre for Tuesday night’s Game Two. Puck drop is 9 p.m. on Sportsnet.
The three players will be back with the Raiders for Friday night’s game against the Swift Current Broncos (3-14-0-1) at the Art Hauser Centre. Game time is 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Raider Office and at raiderhockey.com.
– With files from the Canadian Hockey League