Four Bulls shine on International stage

Dec 30, 2012 - 07:48 EST
Written By: Sweetland, Josh

Photo Credit: Don Carr

The Belleville Bulls are producing world class talent this season. With goaltender Malcolm Subban leading the way with 36 saves in a 2-1 win over the United States on Sunday, three other Bulls are also making a splash. Daniil Zharkov's goal on Saturday helped push Russia to a 6-0 win over Germany while Daniel De Sousa scored and Niki Petti added an assist in Team Ontario's 6-5 shootout loss to the United States in the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge.

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Subban was in fine form on Sunday for Team Canada, providing several big saves with the first coming just over a minute into play of American blueliner Jacob Trouba

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got Canada on the board 7:13 into the first frame with a shot from just above the hash marks that beat American goaltender John Gibson. With his club in the lead, Subban went back to work, stoning Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman in the slot with a great right pad save before turning aside John Gaudreau on a breakaway just over a minute later.

The Niagara connection of Brett Ritchie and Ryan Strome connected with roughly five minutes to go in the first period as Strome was left alone in the slot to give Canada a 2-0 lead.

The Americans nearly wrestled the momentum back into their favour inside the final minute of the first period but Seth Jones was robbed by the blocker of Subban as he stepped into a one-timer from the top of the circles on the powerplay. With just two seconds left in the first, Subban made another remarkable stop off of US forward Sean Kuraly as he broke in alone down the wing.

Subban played an integral part in the Canadian cause during a second period four minute powerplay for the United States as he made big saves off Rocco Grimaldi and Shayne Gostisbehere to preserve the shutout and push Canada into the third frame with a 2-0 lead.

With his American counterpart Gibson keeping the US in a tight game at the far end, Subban continued his strong performance into the third period.

An unfortunate bounce got the United States on the scoreboard 11:02 into the third as Winnipeg Jets first round selection Jacob Trouba scored on a broken play with the puck trickling through the five hole of Subban.

Subban however, would almost single-handedly stop the American onslaught in the dying moments of the game as he made perhaps his best save of the game at 8:46, denying Ryan Hartman of a goal off a rebound with an acrobatic toe save. 

With the net empty and Canada's Nugent-Hopkins in the penalty box, Subban thwarted two 6 on 4 opportunities for the Americans with saves off of Alex Galchenyuk and Sean Kuraly from close quarters.

His 36 saves earned Subban Canadian Player of the Game honours as Canada remains undefeated headed into Monday's action against the host Russian squad. The game can be seen on TSN at 9:00am ET on Monday.

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Daniil Zharkov has seen his icetime increase gradually with the Russians throughout the tournament as the physical brand of hockey he's displayed in Belleville has surfaced in his international game. Zharkov tallied in Russia's 6-0 win over Germany on Saturday and he saw important minutes late in their 2-1 victory over the United States earlier this week. Zharkov is also one of Russia's top penalty killers and will face his teammate and good friend Malcolm Subban on Monday.

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The kids have been busy in Victoriaville this week as Daniel De Sousa has scored a pair of goals in two contests. The first came on Friday in pre-tournament action as Team Ontario downed Sweden 7-2. De Sousa tallied again on Saturday in a 6-5 shootout loss to Team USA as American forward Sonny Milano pushed his club to victory with the shootout winner. Niki Petti produced an assist in the loss. He and Team Ontario are back in action on Sunday against Team Slovakia.