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Russia captures Universiade gold

Olga Sosina scored twice as Russia won its second-straight FISU Games title.

Team Russia poses after defeating Canada 4-1 in the gold-medal game at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Russian Ice Hockey Federation

Olga Sosina tallied two goals and an assist as Russia defeated Canada 4-1 in the final of the 2017 Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It marked the second championship for Russia, which first usurped the previously-undefeated Canadians at the last edition in 2015.

As anticipated, both teams cruised their way to the gold-medal game of the seven-team tournament. Leading up to the finale Canada's tightest contest had been an 8-1 defeat of the United States in the semi-final, while Russia had topped the Americans 7-1. With the title on the line, the experienced Russian squad — which featured several world medallists and Olympic veterans — quickly took the upper hand in a fast-paced, entertaining game.

Sosina opened the scoring on the power play at 11:45 of the first period, assisted by Ludmila Belyakova. Sosina then set up Belyakova for a goal of her own at 18:23, with help from Ekaterina Lobova.

Canada's Kelty Apperson narrowed the gap to 2-1 at 11:12 of the second, assisted by Jaycee Magwood, but Sosina tallied her second of the night less than five minutes later to restore the advantage at 15:55.

Alevtina Shtareva banged in a pass from Anna Shokhina and Elena Dergacheva on the power play at 11:08 of the final frame to close the scoring.

Mariya Sorokina stopped 25 of 26 shots in the Russian goal, while Canadian netminder Valérie Lamenta made 32 saves on 36 shots.

Russia was 2-for-6 on the power play and neutralized all 14 Canadian chances.

Canada's power play often struggled with zone entries and failed to capitalize despite five substantial 5-on-3 opportunities. Though Russia's penalty troubles may prove costly moving forward, the eventual champions were perfect on the kill and also negated two minutes of 6-on-4 play with the empty net in order to close out the win.

The United States claimed bronze in a 3-0 victory over China, with UMass Amherst goaltender Amber Greene earning the 28-save shut-out.

Team USA celebrates its bronze-medal win over China.
Almaty 2017 / https://almaty2017.com

Canada's Alexandra Labelle, a 20-year-old sophomore forward from Université de Montréal, led the tournament in both goals and points with nine and 13, respectively, including hat tricks against Kazakhstan and the United States. Dergacheva paced the Russians with a 3-7-10 record in four games, good for second overall.

Eighteen of the tournament's top 22 scorers represented either Canada or Russia, with only China's Fang Xin (T-10, 5-4-3-7), Japan's Mayo Sakamoto (12th, 4-3-4-7) and Suzuka Taka (19th, 4-2-4-6), and Kazakhstan's Meruyert Ryspek (T-20, 5-2-4-6) breaking in.

Final Standings:

GOLD: Russia (4-0)
SILVER: Canada (4-1)
BRONZE: United States (2-2)
4: China (2-3)
5: Japan (2-2)
6: Kazakhstan (2-3)
7: Great Britain (0-5)

Top Scorers: (GP-G-A-PTS)

1. Alexandra Labelle (CAN) — 5-9-4-13
2. Elena Dergacheva (RUS) — 4-3-7-10
3. Olga Sosina (RUS) — 4-7-2-9
4. Anna Shokhina (RUS) — 4-3-6-9
5. Ludmila Belyakova (RUS) — 4-1-8-9