Russian Selects Defeat WHL, Take Subway Super Series Title

By Jonathan Katje
Nail Yakupov Russian Selects
Charles Leclaire – US Presswire

For just the second time in the ten-year history of the Subway Super Series, Team Russia defeated the CHL and captured the championship on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Victoria, BC. A 5-2 win over the WHL in the sixth game of the contest sealed it for the Russians, who split with the QMJHL, split with the OHL and opened their two-game set with the WHL with a 1-0 shootout loss. That result set up Thursday night’s contest, where either team winning in regulation would clinch the championship. Goals by Ty Rattie (St. Louis Blues) and Adam Lowry (Winnipeg Jets) were not enough for the WHL, as the Russians got a goal and an assist each from Alexander Khokhlachev (Boston Bruins) and Andrei Sigarev.

The Subway Super Series was first held in 2003 (then known as the Re/Max Canada-Russia Challenge), and pits the best Russian Select players against All-Stars from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL – playing two games against each. Three points are awarded for a regulation win, two for a shootout win and one for a shootout loss, and the country with more points after the six games are played is named the winner. The Russian Selects won this year’s tournament 10-8.

Thursday night’s game featured 2012 first overall draft pick Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) suiting up for the Russian Selects against a WHL All-Star team that featured fourth overall pick Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders), fifth overall pick Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs), seventh overall pick Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild) and eighth overall pick Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh Penguins).

Yakupov finished the tournament with a pair of goals and four points, good enough to tie for second overall. Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers) of Team QMJHL led all scorers with two goals and five points in two games.

The tournament is also seen as a last chance for Canadian players to impress before camp opens for the upcoming World Junior Championships. Top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Zach Fucale, Eric Comrie and Nathan MacKinnon appeared for Team QMJHL, and other notable prospects appearing in the tournament were OHL goaltenders Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues) and Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins), Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ryan Murphy (Carolina Hurricanes) and Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres).

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