This was a really important game for Laurent Brossoit, not in the sense that the Canada-Russia Super Series was tied 2-2 coming in, but in the sense that, since the WHL Championship game, "LB" had yet to recover his form after a dominant Western League playoff performance last season. Brossoit got into the game early with a couple of good low pad saves, moving well, and looking calmer than his opposite at the other end even in a 0-0 game, which the WHL won 1-0 after a five-man shootout.
Playing in his hometown, the Calgary Flames prospect got some legitimate action in the second period, stopping a clear breakaway from Evgeni Mozer, and responding a few minutes later with another low pad save on a point-blank slapshot by Andrei Sigarev, whose line with Alexander Khokhlachev and Nail Yakupov were oddly quiet.
Brossoit faced fewer shots than his Russian counterpart, but looked the part and not battling the puck like he has since the start of this season and stopped all 30 attempts he faced in regulation, and all three he faced in the shootout, including a pretty glove save on Vladimir Tkachev.
No. 2 Star - Andrey Makarov, Team Russia (Saskatoon Blades)
Another WHL goaltender who has had a less than stellar start with the Saskatoon Blades, Makarov responded in kind to Brossoit's performance, although it wasn't pretty. The WHL's book on him, keep shots low and to his left pad, evidently, resulted in shots being fired wide as Makarov challenged foes with a particularly aggressive style. He also earned the regulation shutout, stopping 35-of-35.
Makarov's highlights came later in the game, in the third period. His Blade teammate Duncan Siemens set up Raiders forward Mark McNeill with an excellent lead pass but Makarov caught the shot in his chicken wing. On another chance, Mitch Holmberg fed the puck to Brady Brassart right in the slot but the puck stayed still in Makarov's five-hole.
No. 3 Star - Hunter Shinkaruk, Team WHL (Medicine Hat Tigers)
After a scoreless regulation period, it was Hunter Shinkaruk who finally put a legal goal into the net, one of the top 2013 prospect's going high glove on Makarov on the WHL's second attempt to give them the lead in the game and the shootout. The goal acted as the winner.
Other than his shootout prowess, Shinkaruk had a strong game alongside Spokane's Mitch Holmberg, being on the receiving end of a couple of chances and nearly ending it in regulation. The fans that stayed that didn't get to see a goal during actual gameplay not only got to see Shinkaruk's pretty shootout goal, but also a beautiful clincher from an even younger prospect, 2014's Sam Reinhart, with a smooth forehand deke around Makarov.
Game Grade: C. The game had its moments, but started pretty slow and, well, we like to see some scoring in these games, no matter how good the goaltending is.
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