The Comeback That Wasn’t: Another Canada-Russia Epic at the WJHC

In the blink of an eye, the impossible seemed possible.

A game that looked like it would end being one of Canada’s most miserable international defeats nearly became one of of their most heroic moments.

Just one more goal.

Had they been able to score just one more goal, even Jordan Eberle’s game-tying heroics in the 2009 semi-finals against Russia would have been surpassed.

Just one more goal.

An Evgeny Kuznetsov hat-trick staked Russia to a 5-1 lead after two periods of the semi-final showdown, and a Nikita Kucherov goal at 7:54 of the third period was nothing but salt in the wounds to an already defeated Canadian squad.

Or so we all thought.

Trailing by a score of 6-1 with 10 minutes remaining in the third, the Canadians embarked on a comeback that had anyone in attendance at the Saddledome in Calgary, and those watching around the globe on tv, looking on in utter disbelief.

In a span of five minutes, goals by Dougie Hamilton, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Gallagher and Brandon Gormley cut the Russian lead to one with just over five minutes left in regulation. Shell-shocked, team Russia head coach Valeri Bragin called a timeout and elected to pull goaltender Andrei Vasilevski and toss Andrei Makarov into the raging fire.

The move proved to be genius as Makarov turned aside numerous Canadian chances as he was under siege from the moment he entered the game. However, the closest Canada would come didn’t even register with a shot on goal. Ryan Strome’s shot from the slot hit the goal post and was followed by a remarkable save by Makarov off the stick of the hot-shooting Brett Connolly.

Even as the final second ticked away, Canada was able to muster a scoring chance but as the puck deflected wide and the Russian players stormed onto the ice in celebration, team Canada’s fate quickly sunk in.

The impossible, that miraculously became possible, would end up falling a goal short of obtaining the miracle.

Just one more goal.

So close, yet so far.