EDMONTON, Alta. – Canada's National Junior Team has won gold on home ice at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, downing Finland 3-2 in an overtime thriller in front of 13,327 fans.
Kent Johnson (Port Moody, B.C./Columbus, OHL) was the overtime hero, scoring the golden goal on his own rebound after a behind-the-back pass from Logan Stankoven (Kamloops, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) just 3:20 into the extra frame. The win gives Canada its 19th gold medal and 34th medal overall at the World Juniors.
“I take passes on my backhand all the time and I usually try to score on the five-hole, but I had a lot of time and I was able to bang home the rebound,” Johnson said. “It was super exciting overtime period, but not really the situation we wanted to be in after going up 2-0. It means the world to all of us [to win gold]. It has been a crazy couple of months, but everyone wanted to win so bad and I am happy that we were able to do it at home.”
Joshua Roy (Saint-Georges, Que./Sherbrooke, QMJHL) opened the scoring just over 11 minutes into the first period, jamming home a rebound off a Mason McTavish (Carp, Ont./Hamilton, OHL) shot. William Dufour (Québec, Que./Saint John, QMJHL) added to Canada’s lead, firing a wrist shot past Finnish goaltender Juha Jatkola 47 seconds into the middle frame to make it 2-0.
The Finns erased the lead with goals six minutes apart in the opening 11 minutes of the third period, with Aleski Heimosalmi and Joakim Kemell finding the back of the net to force overtime.
Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) was stellar in the Canadian goal, making 29 saves.
A full game summary can be found at HockeyCanada.ca.
Following the gold medal game, McTavish was named Most Valuable Player and Top Forward after leading the tournament in goals (eight) and points (17). He also finished tied for the lead in assists (nine), and was named to the media all-star team alongside defenceman Olen Zellweger (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta./Everett, WHL).
“My stick was in the right place at the right time to knock that puck away from our net [in overtime]. Looking back, I am not sure why I was behind [Garand], but I am happy it worked out. Next thing I knew I was on the bench and Kent [Johnson] was on a breakaway,” McTavish said. “It has been a long journey to get to this moment, and it is so special to win it with this group of guys who put in so much hard work since last summer. I am incredibly proud to be Canadian.”
“This group made a huge commitment to be here, and we overcame some adversity with players not returning and dealing with injuries. These guys stuck with it, we knew it was going to be tough and I have a lot of admiration for all our players and staff,” said head coach Dave Cameron (Kinkora, P.E.I./Ottawa, OHL). “This gold medal feels really special. The atmosphere tonight was unbelievable, and I am so grateful to the fans that supported us. I feel like we were able to reward them with tonight’s win.”
Canada finished the preliminary round atop Group A with a perfect 4-0 record after wins over Latvia (5-2), Slovakia (11-1), Czechia (5-1) and Finland (6-3). It booked a spot in the gold medal game with a 6-3 win against Switzerland in the quarterfinals and a 5-2 win over Czechia in the semifinals.
Since 1977, Canada has collected 19 gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship, to go along with 10 silver and five bronze.
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