Team Canada wins first WJC in seven years with 6-1 win over Russia
By Virg Foss
Herald Staff Writer
Was there any doubt?
Canada purged the demons of the past and completed its dominating run
through the World Junior Hockey Championship on Tuesday night with a
6-1 thrashing of Russia in the gold-medal game in Ralph Engelstad
It was the most one-sided game in the history of the tournament since
the WJC shifted to its present format in 1996. The sheer control
Canada exercised over the field of nine other teams most certainly
staked claim to the belief that the Canadians might have put together
the best team in the history of the tournament, which dates to 1977.
"It feels good to bring the gold back to Canada, that's for sure,"
said Team Canada captain Mike Richards.
Canada shook off six years without a WJC gold medal and the agony of
losing in the championship game each of the last three years to take
this title by storm.
From the time Canada beat Slovakia in the tournament's first game on
Dec. 25 to the dismantling of Russia on Tuesday night with a
tournament-high 11,862 fans looking on, this was a Canadian show,
through and through, saturated with Canadian fans and dominated by
Ryan Getzlaff's blast off a Jeff Carter drop pass 51 seconds into the
game staked Canada to a quick 1-0 lead on the first shot on goal for
"We came here with one goal only in mind, and that was to get the
gold," Canada goalie Jeff Glass said.
It was a one-team gold rush throughout the tournament with only
Canada striking gold. Canada outscored its six opponents by a
combined 41-7 margin. Canada never trailed in a single game in a six-
game blitz of Slovakia, Sweden, Germany, Finland and the Czech
Republic - then slayed the ghosts of misery past against chief
Canada had lost to the Russians for the gold medal in 1999, 2002 and
2003 and hadn't won the gold since 1997.
But when Carter's rocket found net less than a minute into the game
and the Russians fizzled on a 5-on-3 power play for 72 seconds a
minute later, there was little doubt this was Canada's night - and
Defenseman Danny Syvret flipped a puck off Russian goalie Anton
Khudobin's catching glove from behind the goal line 8 minutes into
the opening period, the puck fluttering into the net for a 2-0 margin.
Alexei Emelin's power-play goal at 19:28 of the first period chopped
Canada's lead to 2-1, but hope died in a hurry for Russia in the
An electrifying rush of goals by Carter at 3:33, by Patrice Bergeron
at 7:53, by Anthony Stewart at 8:54 and by Dion Phaneuf at 13:19
capped the scoring. The last three goals came against Russia backup
goalie Andrei Kuznetsov, who replaced Khudobin at 3:33 of the second
All told, Canada outshot Russia 32-19, including by 28-11 over the
first two periods in grabbing control of the game.
"There's not any words to describe the feeling right now," said
Phaneuf, who was named the tournament's best defenseman and just
might have been the tourney's best player.
Any hope Russia had of making a game of it in the second period ended
early. Five minutes into the period, Alexander Ovechkin, named to the
all-tournament team as a forward, was hit hard as he tried to
stickhandle through three Canadian players.
"I felt pain - and I don't know what's happened," said Ovechkin, the
first overall pick in last year's NHL Entry Draft.
Ovechkin, wearing an ice bag on his injured right shoulder at the
post-game press conference, played just briefly after that, and
didn't play at all in the third period.
"Canada jumped to that early lead, then started taking the body," is
how Russian forward Roman Voloshenko described it.
Canada pounded Russia players throughout with fierce body blows and
shut down Russia's powerful offense with a stifling defense led by
Canada seemed to come into the tournament with the mission of proving
it was as good as everyone said it would be. "We wanted to show
everyone what we were made of," Carter admitted.
Said coach Brent Sutter: "There's no question that I believed in the
guys and I believed in the staff," Sutter said.
And now he can forever believe he coached one of the greatest teams
in the history of the World Juniors - if not the best.