After twice battling back from two-goal deficits and rallying to tie the game a third time in the final period, Canada ran out of steam.
Andrei Sigarev scored his second goal of the game with 6:23 left to play as Russia edged Canada 6-5 in Game 3 of the Canada-Russia Hockey Challenge on Monday night.
“Playing from behind is not the greatest feeling, but, obviously, it makes you play that much harder,” said Canadian forward Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67’s. “That’s something that we did out there. We just weren’t capitalizing on the chances that we had.”
Russia now leads the four-game exhibition series 2-1 with the final game set for Tuesday night in Halifax.
The first two games were played in Yaroslavl, Russia, last Thursday and Friday. Canada won the opener 3-2.
Canada almost went ahead in the third Monday when Cody Ceci rang a shot off the post with 14 minutes left. It was that kind of night for the home team.
“We got a little bit unlucky at times,” said Canadian coach Steve Spott. “I think a few of those goals were tipped off Matt Dumba, but ultimately we gave up six goals here tonight.”
Canadian defenceman Ryan Murphy was the standout for Canada as he notched a goal and three assists. The Kitchener Rangers defenceman showed why the Carolina Hurricanes drafted him in the first round in 2011.
“I thought he was great,” Spott said. “He dictated the play and had great legs here tonight and he battled at both ends of the rink and provided the offence that we need from him.”
Spott would like to see some more offence from his forward group in Game 4.
“We’ve got some guys that have put up big numbers in the CHL that haven’t been on the board here yet and we’re three games in,” Spott said. “Those kids are going to have to find their offensive touch.”
Murphy would like to see his team tighten up defensively to limit the chances for Russia.
“We can’t make any mistakes or they’ll come right back at us with a lot of offence,” Murphy said. “They’re really good at odd-man rushes so we have to make sure that we have a high forward at all times to come back and help out the D.”
Russia grabbed an early lead with two goals in the first six minutes.
Sigarev notched his first of the game when he skated into the high slot before floating a low wrist shot past Canadian goalie Laurent Brossoit on the glove side.
Russia went up 2-0 when Daniil Romantsev made a beautiful backhand pass to Vladimir Tkachev, who raced to the net and knocked the puck into the open side.
Two minutes later Canada got on the board while on a two-man advantage as Ryan Murphy ripped a slap shot to the inside post at 8:49. With 2:47 left in the period, his defence partner Ryan Murray slipped a point shot through Russian goalie Andrei Makarov to tie the game.
Russia regained the lead less than a minute later when defenceman Mikhail Naumenkov’s point shot deflected off a Canadian player in the slot.
Canada got a 45-second two-man advantage early in the second period but couldn’t score. With Lucas Lessio injured and lying on the ice, Nail Yakupov dashed up the right wing and checked up along boards before feeding a slick pass to Anton Zlobin for a short-handed goal to make it 4-2.
Canada fought off the jet lag and rallied with goals by Monahan and Charles Hudon to tie it 4-4 going into the final period.
Anton Slephyshev and Jonathan Huberdeau exchanged third-period goals before Sigarev sealed the game for Russia.
The series is being played as a tribute to Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
The club was devastated by a plane crash last September that killed 44 players and coaches, including former NHL defenceman Brad McCrimmon.
Notes: Olympic kayaker Mark de Jonge will be at Tuesday’s game as Hockey Canada honours the Halifax native for his bronze-medal performance in the men’s 200-metre kayak at the London Games.