Kelowna's Madison Bowey anchored a very strong WHL defence Thursday (CP)Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars, and thoughts from Thursday night's 4-2 win for Team WHL over Team Russia. With the victory, the Canadians clinch the series with three regulation wins to two, with one Russian victory coming in the shutout.
No. 1 Star - Dillion Heatherington-Madison Bowey, Team WHL (Swift Current, Kelowna)
It's tough to name a single first star when what really gave the Western Hockey League team the victory was its defence. The home team again peppered the Russian net with shots, as they have been all series, but the defence was outrageous, holding Russia to just 17 shots and nine scoring chances, with two of those coming on the powerplay.
Credit has to be given to Canada's No. 1 defensive pairing, which pitched about as close to a perfect game as possible, with the exception of one opportunity midway through the second period when Vladimir Tkachyov—who scored the highlight-reel goal in the first game of the series during the QMJHL leg—out-skated Heatherington through the neutral zone, but Bowey caught up to him and prevented him from coming across the net.
WHL goaltender Tristan Jarry didn't have a heck of a lot of work to do, and he can probably thank his top defensive pairing for that. Despite Russia trailing for nearly all the third period, they only generated six total shots in the frame, and had two third period scoring chances.
No. 2 Star - Jujhar Khaira, Team WHL (Everett Silvertips)
You can probably make a good argument for Khaira's linemate Greg Chase in this spot, who scored two goals and was named the Team WHL Player of the Game in the building, but I think it's appropriate to appreciate Khaira's efforts in helping Team WHL tied the game on the powerplay in the second period as well as add the insurance marker in the third.
Khaira was given two assists on the night, but he didn't earn the first with a pass to the wing on the powerplay. He earned that assist (maybe not officially) by being the screen of Russian goaltender Igor Shestyorkin, who took over goalie duties from Wednesday's first star Ivan Nalimov. His second assist was more conventional, beating his man to a puck behind the Russian goal and playing it out in front for Chase, who scored the 4-2 insurance goal with the feed.Read More »from Rock-solid WHL D sets up Subway Series Win – Thursday’s 3 Stars