OHL blanks Russia 3-0 in Owen Sound
By Josh Sweetland/CHL
Owen Sound, ON – Los Angeles Kings prospect Spencer Watson (Kingston Frontenacs) scored twice while Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie Colts) made 25 saves to record the shutout as Team OHL effectively silenced Russia with a 3-0 victory in Game 3 of the CHL Canada Russia Series in Owen Sound on Thursday.
Blackwood becomes the first OHL goaltender since Trevor Cann in 2006 to record a shutout over 60 minutes in the event as the CHL takes a commanding 9-0 lead in points heading into Game 4 on Monday in Windsor.
With a pair of Team WHL victories on Monday and Tuesday, the win marks the first time since 2009 that the CHL has won the first three games of the CHL Canada Russia Series.
Team OHL got to work quickly on Thursday as it took Watson just 34 seconds to beat Maxim Tretiak on the first shot of the game. The crafty winger pulled up at the top of the right circle, ripping a release past the blocker of the Russian goaltender to give the OHL an edge in front of a capacity crowd in Owen Sound.
Some timely saves from Blackwood a few shifts later helped the OHL kill off a two-man disadvantage before Arizona Coyotes first round draft selection Dylan Strome added some welcomed insurance in the final minute of the frame.
Strome was given ample time and space to pick his spot with nine seconds left on the clock, pinpointing the back of the net over the shoulder of Tretiak as he slipped in past the top of the circle.
The OHL outshot Russia 13-10 in a fast-paced, competitive first frame.
Blackwood was at the top of his game in the second as the OHL killed off a pair of penalties in the opening half. The Barrie Colts netminder provided one of his biggest saves of the night on a Kirill Pilipenko breakaway, turning aside a low shot from the Russian forward with seven minutes to go.
The two goaltenders swapped saves in the final five minutes of the second.
Blackwood turned away Daniil Vovchenko as the slippery winger found a lane to the net off the half boards, attempting to beat Blackwood’s left pad to no avail. Tretiak proved equal to the task a shift later with dual denials of 17 year-olds Michael McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads) and Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters) on chances off the rush.
Team OHL would get to Tretiak before time ran out though. Watson buried his second of the night on a rebound inspired by Thomas Schemitsch’s (Owen Sound Attack) point shot 20 seconds before the Russians could escape the second.
The OHL led 3-0 after 40 minutes, outshooting Russia 24-19.
Blackwood’s stellar play continued into the early stages of the third as the New Jersey Devils prospect flashed the leather on a Semyon Afonasevsky spin-around wrister in the opening shift.
Tretiak provided a pair of big saves off Vince Dunn (Niagara IceDogs) and Dante Salituro (Ottawa 67’s) at the other end to keep his club within three.
Russian coach Valery Bragin called a timeout with six minutes to play in an effort to rally his club, but a solid defensive effort from Team OHL kept the Russians largely to the perimeter as Blackwood was perfect the rest of the way to secure the victory.
Team OHL outshot Russia 36-25, going a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill with some big shot blocks and timely saves from Blackwood contributing to the end result.
Game 4 of the 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series shifts to the WFCU Centre in Windsor on Monday as standouts Mitchell Marner (London Knights), Michael Dal Colle (Oshawa Generals) and Brendan Perlini (Niagara IceDogs) slot into the Team OHL lineup.
Monday’s action can be seen live from Windsor on Sportsnet 360 at 7:00pm ET.
1. OHL Spencer Watson, (1) (Travis Dermott), 0:34
1. OHL Dylan Strome, (1) (Roland McKeown, Mackenzie Blackwood), 19:51 (PP)
2. OHL Spencer Watson, (2) (Dylan Strome, Thomas Schemitsch), 19:40