It was everything a Canadian fan could hope for.
The Gold Medal game of the 2005 World Junior Championship between Canada and Russia ended exactly the way Canada’s National Junior Team had hoped. Canada ran away with the game, handily taking the gold with a 6-1 win over Russia.
In period one, Canada got things rolling right from the drop of the puck as Ryan Getzlaf scored Canada’s first goal just 51 seconds into the first period.
“It’s huge to get a goal like that right away,” said Getzlaf, who also added two assists on the night. “In a game like this getting that goal is huge.”
Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter agreed. “We needed to set the tone right away. My guys were focused as individuals and they focused as a team too.”
With Canada leading 1-0, the game got chippy and Canada was whistled for back-to-back penalties giving Russia the 5-on-3 man advantage. Canada killed off the Russian power play and went right back to work. At the 8:00 mark of the first period, Canada went up 2-0 on a goal by defenceman Danny Syvret.
Penalties to Andrew Ladd and Braydon Coburn led to Russia getting their first goal of the game at the 19:28 mark to finish off the period. “They scored that goal but our guys didn’t let up,” said Sutter. “It was a good effort by that group of young men. They really played like they wanted to win, right from the start.”
In the middle frame, Canada added to its lead with a goal by Jeff Carter to put them ahead of Russia 3-1. “We were really excited to score so early and then we tried to build a rally to set the tone,” said Carter. “Every game we played we wanted to play our best game.”
A charging penalty to Russia’s Grigori Shafigulin led to Canada’s fourth goal of the contest, a goal by Tournament Most Valuable Player Patrice Bergeron. Anthony Stewart also scored a minute later to push Canada’s lead to 5-1.
Russia got into penalty trouble again in the second period when Alexei Emelin was called for kneeing at the 13:08 mark. That call led to Canada’s sixth goal of the contest. Dion Phaneuf scored 11 seconds into that power play to give Canada the 6-1 lead.
The final period was played up and down the ice. Russia was looking to find some way to make up a five goal deficit and had to do it without their top player, and the top forward in the Championship, as Alexander Ovechkin sat out the final frame with a shoulder injury. Even with Ovechkin, there didn’t seem to anything which could stall the Canadian side.
“We played a smart game tonight,” said Sutter. “We didn’t give up stupid penalties, our penalty kill was as good as ever, and we really set the tone well.”
“This was a dream come true,” said Sidney Crosby, who tallied an assist in the game. Bergeron added. “This is the experience of my life. I’ll never forget it.”
With a gold medal under their belts, Canada looks to defend its title next year on home ice in Vancouver. “It’s pretty hard to think about that right now,” said Crosby. “We’re going to let this one sink in for now.”
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