Ilya Kovalchuk may play for the New Jersey Devils but today he is a hero in Russia. Kovalchuks game winning goal late in the third period propelled the Russians to a 2-1 victory over Canada in the quarter-final of the 2011 IIHF World Championships.
The goal could not have come at a better time for Kovalchuk. Although he had 5 assists in the first 6 games, the talented winger entered the game looking for his first goal in the tournament. None could have been bigger than this one.
The undefeated Canadians looked poised to stay that way early on. Heavily out shooting the Russians 17-6 in a physical up-tempo scoreless first period. Jason Spezza gave the Canadians the 1-0 lead early in the second period on a breakaway at the 5:32 mark. The tide began to change when Alexei Kaigorodov’s shorthanded breakaway goal tied the game at one goal a piece a gave the Russians new life. A series of miscues cost the Canadians and the Russians made them pay.
Kovalchuk’s strike broke the tie with 7:41 remaining in third. It was another clutch goal for the Russian sniper. He led New Jersey in game winning goals this past season and now he leads his country to the next round.
The loss eliminated Canada and Devils center Travis Zajac from the tournament, sending them home without a medal.
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Kovalchuk Goal Lifts Russia and Eliminates Canada
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