WORLD JRS: The drought is over! Canada holds off Russia for gold

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In one of the most exciting finishes in recent memory, Canada held on for a 5-4 victory to end a six-year drought at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship to claim gold on home ice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont., on Monday night, Jan. 5, 2015.

The first period nearly began with a brawl as Max Domi nearly got into it with his Russian counterpart on the opening face-off.

Domi would get the last laugh on the exchange as he would get the puck from New York Rangers rookie Anthony Duclair, work it back in front of the net, and find Duclair once again who found the back of the net to make it 1-0 Canada just 23 seconds in.

The Canucks would double their lead just over two minutes later at the 2:32 mark as Nick Paul would rip home a Brayden Point pass to make it 2-0 and chase Russian starter Igor Shestyorkin from the game. Jake Virtanen picked up an assist on the play. Ilya Sorokin came on in relief.

Russia would get on the board at the 9:20 mark of the first as Dmitri Yudin would ring one off the far post to beat Canadian goaltender Zach Fucale to cut the lead in half. Anatoli Golyshev and Alexandre Dergachyov were credited with the assists. With the Canadians up by one after 20 minutes of play, they also held a 12-9 lead on shots.

The second period opened with Canada restoring their two-goal lead 5:08 in as Connor McDavid would take a Josh Morrissey pass in all alone and go between the legs of Sorokin to make it 3-1 for the home squad.

Domi would follow that up with the first of two goals, the first coming at the 7:22 mark in a solo effort and the second coming with 7:30 remaining after a shot fools Sorokin to make it 5-1 Canada The goal would later be reviewed and see the goal scorer and helper reversed giving Reinhart the goal from Domi.

That’s when the Canadians would run into penalty trouble; the Russians mounted a second period comeback as Ivan Barbashev of the Moncton Wildcats poked home Russia’s second goal of the game with 5:39 remaining in the period from Pavel Buchnevich and Yudin, followed by a second goal just 32 seconds later as Sergei Tolchinski scores on a nifty two-on-one drive from Nikolai Goldobin on a play started by Rinat Valiev.

Russia would end the period within reach of a tie game as Russia would make it a 5-4 game thanks to Goldobin from Tolchinski and Vladislav Kamenev. Shots in the second period were 10-5 in Russia’s favor.

The third period was a story of one team trying to find the equalizing goal and one team trying to hold on for victory. With very few whistles and no penalties, there were also no goals as the Canadians were able to successfully hold on to their 5-4 lead in the dying seconds despite the Russians pulling Sorokin for the extra attacker to end their gold medal drought. Shots in the third period were 11-4 in Russia’s favor giving them a 30-21 lead through 60 minutes.

Fucale stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced for the victory, while Shestyorkin stopped just one of the three shots he faced before being replaced after 2:32 of play for Sorokin. He turned away 15 of 18 in 55 minutes and 58 seconds.

Special teams saw Canada go unsuccessful in their two power plays while Russia had two goals on four man-advantages.

Players of the game saw Ivan Barbashev take the honours for Russia while Darnel Nurse was named the player of the game for Canada.

Russia’s top three players of the tournament were Igor Shestyorkin, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Alexander Sharov while Canada named Sam Reinhart, Max Domi, and defenceman Darnel Nurse its top three players.

Next up were the Directorate Awards for the top goaltender, top defenceman and top forward of the tournament. Slovakian goaltender Dennis Godla took home the top goaltender of the tournament while Russia’s Gavrikov was named the top defenceman and Canada’s Max Domi was the top forward.

The final standings of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship are:

1. Canada
2. Russia
3. Slovakia
4. Sweden
5. United States
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. Denmark
9. Switzerland
10. Germany

Germany as a result of losing a best-of-three series 2-0 against Switzerland, has been relegated to Division I Group A and will be replaced by Belarus who earned promotion after sweeping Division I Group A in Italy in December, 2014.

The IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship shifts to Helsinki, Finland for the 2016 edition of the tournament. Once again the 10 teams of the Top Division will be broken into two groups.

Group A will consist of Canada, Sweden, United States, Denmark and Switzerland. Group B will consist of Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Finland and Belarus.

On behalf of our writers, editors, and technical team, thank you for joining us for our coverage of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.We invite you to stay tuned to The Q News for our continuing extended coverage of the upcoming Division III tournament which will conclude the 2015 edition of the IIHF World Under-20 Ice Hockey Championships.

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