No. 1 Star - Andrei Sigarev, Team Russia
An unheralded player on that top Russian line with Boston prospect Alexander Khokhlachev and Edmonton prospect Nail Yakupov is Sigarev, an undrafted 19-year-old from SKA St. Petersburg. While the small contingent of loud Russian fans were indubitably in attendance to witness Yakupov, it was Sigarev who got off the mark, first drawing a penalty after an unimpeded chance in front, and scoring Russia's second goal of the game, taking advantage of some open space in the slot and firing it high on Laurent Brossoit.
His highlight was an assist in the second period, however, on an offensive zone shift that never ended. Sigarev stole the puck after his own giveaway, and on a 2-on-1, outweighted WHL defenceman Mathew Dumba and slid a perfect pass over to Khokhlachev for the finish. That put Russia up 4-1 late in the period, and for all intents and purposes, was the dagger. Russia would wind up winning the game 5-2 on an empty net goal, and take the series winning three of the six games, but by virtue of one of the CHL's wins being a shootout victory.
No. 2 Star - Mikhail Naumenkov, Team Russia
It was a good night for the undrafted Russian 93 born players. Sigarev got our first star selection, and it was Mikhail Naumenkov, one of Russia's big minute defencemen, who got our second star. After a scoreless first game between the WHL and the Russians, Naumenkov got things going in the first period, albeit on a bit of a flukey bounce on a shot from the point that somehow eluded Laurent Brossoit.
He also turned the play around after Ty Rattie made it 2-1 in the second period. Naumenkov got the puck up to Kirill Kapustin (two assists on the night) who slid it over to Kirill Dyakov to put the Russians up 3-1 just 27 seconds after it looked like the WHL may stage a comeback.
No. 3 Star - Andrey Makarov, Team Russia (Saskatoon Blades)
For the second straight night, nobody could match Andrey Makarov. His style was impetuous, his defence was impregnable, and he was just ferocious… if he hadn't yet broken the hearts of Canadian shooters last night with a rock solid regulation performance where he stopped 35-for-35 shots on goal on Wednesday, he returned to stop 21 of 23 shots on Thursday. Not remarkably dominant, but very efficient and a key member for Russia in their win.
With all due respect to Mike Tyson, of course, but Makarov has been a thorn in many an international squad's side, from his relief performance of Andrei Vasilievski in the World Junior gold medal game, to both games in the Super Series he appeared.
Honourable Mention - Eric Comrie, Team Canada (Tri-City Americans)
When the draft eligible Comrie entered the game, the score was 3-1 for the Russians and it wasn't necessarily on him to trigger the comeback, but he looked very strong and natural between the pipes, turning aside some early Russian shots with an authoritative left pad. His big moment came in the third period when he stopped Yaroslav Kosov on a shorthanded breakaway that kept the WHL in the game. He held tight in a Russian dominant back half of the second period, and stopped 17 of 18.
Honourable Mention - Ty Rattie, Team Canada (Portland Winterhawks)
It was tough on the WHL's forwards this segment of the series: They just weren't as good as Russia's, so it was good redemption for them, and the league, when Ty Rattie managed to slip a backhand shot past Andrey Makarov and give the 7,006 fans in attendance something to cheer for.
Game Grade: B-. There was a lot going on, but the action was unfortunately very one-sided. Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Morgan Rielly made three nice plays that left the crowd buzzing, including one zone-to-zone-to-zone rush on a third period power play.