Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Nikita Zadorov has triumphant return as Russia beats tepid Team OHL: Super Series 3 Stars

Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars from Game 3 of the Subway Super Series, won 5-2 by Russia over Team OHL to pare the CHL's points lead to 6-3 at the event's midpoint:

No. 1 star: Nikita Zadorov, Russian selects

The big man affirmed how far he's come since beginning his North American career 15 months ago by shoring up a leg-weary Russia blueline. Zadorov (3A, +1), had the bearing of a matured defenceman in his first junior game all season, drawing assists on the game's final three goals as Russia pulled away for just its second win over Team OHL in 21 tries.

Zadorov helped hold down the fort as Russia played the rope-a-dope defence that has become teeth-gnashingly familiar to North American fans during under-20 competition over the past few years. Team OHL mustered 43 shots against a Russia side that had played just one night earlier, but weren't able to make the visitors panic.

[Andrey Osadchenko: Nikita Zadorov:
There’s nothing cooler than the NHL

It was 2-2 in the second period when Zadorov showed off his burgeoning offensive upside by springing Ildar Shiksatdarov for a short-handed breakaway and the go-ahead-for-good goal. The 18-year-old Muscovite then got the primary helper on Vladimir Butuzov's dagger goal 6:36 into the third which came after sustained Russia pressure. In the final two minutes, Zadorov helped clear the zone to set up the empty-netter.

No. 2 star: Ivan Nalimov, Russian selects

Russia's goalie made 41 saves, keeping his wits about him when Team OHL did put on the heat. Nalimov's composure was paramount in the second period when Winnipeg Jets third-rounder Scott Kosmachuk had repeated whacks at a rebound. In the third, Connor McDavid was sent in alone by a pass from Max Domi, but Nalimov didn't bite at the Erie Otters phenom's first move and then denied McDavid's bid to go blocker side. All told, it was a superb goaltending exhibition.

No. 3 star: Connor McDavid, Team OHL

McDavid (+1) did not have a point but was one of the more energetic OHLers on the ice on a frustrating night for his team, which played well only in spurts. Projected Team Canada stalwarts such as Team OHL captain Scott Laughton (-2) and top-10 NHL picks Darnell Nurse (-1) and Bo Horvat (-3) each ended up in the red for the night.

The 16-year-old McDavid created several chances for Team OHL, but had little to show for it. There should be little question of whether he'll wear the Maple Leaf in Malmo, Sweden in five weeks' time.

Honourable mention: Kerby Rychel, Team OHL

The Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder briefly got Team OHL going by ripping home a seeing-eye feed from Domi for the hosts' first goal 8:09 into the second period, cutting Russia's lead to 2-1. That led to Carolina Hurricanes second-rounder Brock McGinn tying the game minutes later (which doesn't count toward the Guelph Storm star's 23-game point streak). Rychel's effort throughout the night led to him being named Team OHL's player of the game inside the General Motors Centre.

Game 4 is Monday at Sudbury.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to

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