Rangers draft pick Shestyorkin backstops Russia past Sweden

Rangers 2014 fourth round pick Igor Shestyorkin has turned some heads leading Russia to the World Junior Championship Final.  HHOF-IIHF Images/usahockey.com

Rangers 2014 fourth round pick Igor Shestyorkin has turned some heads leading Russia to the World Junior Championship Final.
HHOF-IIHF Images/usahockey.com

In the first semifinal of the 2015 World Junior Championship, Russia advanced with a 4-1 win over Sweden. Alexander Sharov and Ziat Paigin scored 1:32 apart in the second period to break open a scoreless game. Sharov added his second in the third garnering Player Of The Game for Russia. Maxim Mamin added a goal and assist including a key goal in direct response to Sweden getting on the board.

The winning goalie was Rangers 2014 fourth round pick Igor Shestyorkin, who finished with 26 saves. The only blemish was a goal allowed to Sweden’s Lucas Wallmark that cut it to 3-1 with 8:30 left. He’s had an outstanding tournament posting a 1.50 goals-against-average, .952 save percentage and a shutout. In four games, Shestyorkin is 3-1 allowing six goals on 126 shots. In the quarters, he stifled USA making 39 saves in Russia’s 3-2 win. He was under siege but was able to come up with big saves allowing his team to advance.

From the glimpses I’ve seen of Shestyorkin, he’s fundamentally sound patiently waiting for the shots to come to him. He holds his position well and then reacts. Interestingly, he made a save with his mask late eerily reminiscent to Henrik Lundqvist. The score was 3-0 and Wallmark set up a teammate point blank and he fired a high riser that Shestyorkin shrugged away with his mask. It didn’t even faze him.

That kind of poise could potentially make him a steal. The Rangers selected him 118th overall after tabbing American goalie prospect Brandon Halverson in the second round with the 59th pick. He got into one game for USA making 14 saves in a 6-0 shutout win over Germany.

The Rangers still have three prospects left in the U20 WJC. That includes Russian forward Pavel Buchnevich and Canadian forward Anthony Duclair. Both were taken in the third round of the 2013 Draft 10 picks apart. Duclair was selected 65th overall while Buchnevich went No. 75. Buchnevich has five points (1-4-5) which makes him one of five Russian players with five. Duclair also has five points (2-3-5) along with 16 penalty minutes. He’s been playing on a cohesive line with Canadian standout Max Domi and Sabres 2013 first overall pick Sam Reinhart. That unit has combined for 10 goals and 11 assists entering Canada’s semifinal against Slovakia. They currently lead Slovakia 1-0 on a Nic Petan tally in the first period.

I’ll have another #WJC2015 update later.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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