Kuznetsov and his teammates celebrate his hat-trick. (Photo credit: Mike Sturk)
19-year-old Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov had 0 points heading into Russia’s third World Junior Championship game. On Monday, he was shutdown in Russia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland. On Wednesday, a frustrated Kuznetsov still could not land on the scoresheet despite rifling nine shots on goal against the Slovaks.
Enter Latvia. After not registering a point in the game’s first 27 minutes, Kuznetsov exploded, tallying an insane nine points over the next 33 minutes pushing Russia to a 14-0 victory.
You can check out video of his big night below the jump.
After scoring his first goal of the tournament on the power play in the second period, Kuznetsov then tallied another three minutes later. Then he assisted on the next four goals, spanning only 13 minutes of game time. His most impressive helper came on a nifty backhanded pass to Nikita Gusev for a power play goal. Six points, 13 minutes.
Kuznetsov got his hat trick three minutes into the third period, displaying his patented patience in front of the net. Sadly, only two hats were thrown to the ice from the Calgary crowd.
“Why were there only 2?” Kuznetsov quizzed Allhockey.ru’s Andrey Osadchenko after the game. “What is this? A funeral? I was hoping Zislis would at least throw his panties, and he didn’t.”
Kuzya then went on to assist on two of Russia’s final four goals to give him nine points total, the second most ever in a World Junior Championship game. Only Sweden’s Peter Forsberg (against Japan in 1993) has done better.
With his huge night, Evgeny leapfrogged Canada’s Mark Stone, Ryan Strome, and 2011 third overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau, and is now tied with teammate Nikita Gusev for the WJC points lead. He also almost matched his entire output in last year’s WJC (four goals, seven assists) in one game.
Russia’s next game comes against Sweden on Saturday.