Canada 6 vs. Russia 1
Gold Medal Final
CANADA CLAIMS FIRST GOLD SINCE 1997 AT WORLD JUNIOR HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
The dry spell is over. Canada ended what had become a seven year itch with a resounding bang, trouncing Russia 6-1 in Tuesday’s gold medal final at a sold out, and very red and white, Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It also marked the first time Canada has beaten Russia in a World Junior final, and evens Canada’s overall record against Russia at 6-6-1.
Canada responded to the electric atmosphere as the first period opened. Jeff Carter crossed the blue line, left the puck for Ryan Getzlaf who let a cannon go and beat Anton Khudobin at 0:51.
Canada had to face adversity shortly afterwards, as a penalty to Corey Perry at 2:11 for interference was followed 48 seconds later by a tripping call to Shea Weber, and Canada faced the vaunted Russian powerplay two-man short. But goaltender Jeff Glass made a couple key saves, and for the most part, the Canadian penalty kill kept the Russians to the outside and limited them to outside shots.
Canada got a power play opportunity at 6:23, and cashed in. Danny Syvret banked it in off Khudobin from behind the net, and Canada had taken a 2-0 lead.
A late penalty to Braydon Coburn led to Russia’s first goal, on the power play, as Alexei Emelin’s point shot got through the screen and beat Glass at 19:28. Canada has a 2-1 lead through twenty minutes of play.
At 3:33 of the middle frame, Carter jumped on a loose puck behind the Russian defenceman and surprised Khudobin with a quick shot. Canada takes a 3-1 lead and Khudobin is replaced by Andrei Kuznetsov.
Then, at 7:53, after Dion Phaneuf singlehandedly eliminated two Russian forwards, Crosby sped the other way, launched a rocket from the top of the circle. Perry pushed the rebound to Patrice Bergeron who scored into an open net. Canada was up three. One minute and one second later, Nigel Dawes jumped on a loose puck, crossed the blue line and set up Anthony Stewart in front of the net. 5-1 Canada and the game wasn’t at the half-way mark yet.
Phaneuf, on a power play, beat Kuznetsov from the point, at 13:19. As the puck was going in, Russian forward Alexander Radulov crosschecked Nigel Dawes in the face and was shown the gate by the referee, getting a major penalty and a game misconduct. Despite a couple great chances for Canada, Russia killed off the five minute advantage.
And as the final seconds ticked away, Canadians erupted in joy. Canada can on this day claim to be defending World Junior, World Men’s, World Women’s, Olympic Men and Olympic Women’s Champion.
The Canada/Russia rivalry
Whenever Canada and Russia square off, the result is bound to be some great hockey. This year, at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship, the outcome should be no different.
In the gold medal game, Canada’s National Junior Team will bring its unblemished record against a Russian team that has won four straight games. With elite players like Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin facing off against Canada’s staunch defence, the game will make for a fitting end to this year’s World Juniors.
While many people have Canada penciled in as the favorite to win the tournament, coach Brent Sutter is quick to mention that in a Canada-Russia game, anything can happen. “There's so many different things that could go on that you never know what to expect.”
The history behind the two countries is extremely storied. Whether it be 1972’s epic eight-game match-up during the Summit Series or the overtime thriller at the Winnipeg Arena in 1999, Canada versus Russia often means hockey at its finest.
“There’s a great history between the two countries, and obviously they have a talented squad on their side,” said Braydon Coburn. “But we’re very confident with the guys we have in our room, so it is a fitting final.”
The emotion of a Canada-Russia final combined with the fan support of the Canadians makes tomorrow’s game even more special for Team Canada. “It’s so big back home, it’s not even funny. To be living the dream right now, and putting on that jersey is just awesome,” said Coburn.
For team captain Michael Richards, tomorrow’s game will basically be a first-time experience - a challenge he is ready for. “For the most part, I haven’t played very much against the Russians … but you always get the feeling that whenever you play Russia, it’s going to be a battle.”
Sidney Crosby said he is also expecting a close game in the finals. “It’s always a good game, and it’s always a close game,” he said.
Although the games have been close, Russia has had the upper hand in the last few meetings between the teams when the gold medal was on the line. In 2003, Russia bested Canada 3-2. One year earlier, the gold medal was handed to Russia after a 5-4 victory.
In 1999, it took overtime to differentiate the winner from the loser. Russia ended up grinding out a 3-2 win, giving Canada yet another silver.
Despite Canada’s recent difficulties putting away the Russians in the final, Crosby stated that each year is different. The tournament always comes down to one game, no strings attached.
“That’s in the past. We have one game. It’s one game, winner takes all. For sure, we’re happy to be in the final, but the hardest part is left.”
The puck drops in Grand Forks at 7:08 p.m. (local time). The game will be broadcast live on TSN and RDS, as well as on The Fan Radio Network.
Canada will face Russia in Tuesday’s gold medal final at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Russia advanced to the final, with a 7-2 win over USA Sunday night in Grand Forks. Canada had earlier handled the Czech Republic 3-1 to reach the final. Canada has already assured itself of a seventh consecutive medal at the World Junior Championship, which is the longest current streak for any country at this event.
The last time that Canada and Russia faced off was in a gold medal game on January 5th, 2003 in Halifax, as Russia skated to an exciting 3-2 win.
Since the playoff system was implemented in the World Junior Championship in 1996, Canada and Russia have squared off for top honours three times, with Russia coming out golden on each occasion. Canada is looking to break this trend, and to bring home its first gold medal since 1997.
All-time versus Russia, Canada has a 5-6-1 record at the World Junior Championship.
The game will be broadcast live at 7pm (local) on TSN and RDS, as well as The Fan Radio Network.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications