World Juniors Recap Day 10
Apologies for being extremely late on this. I simply forgot about it. So, better late than never.
WORLD JUNIORS DAY 10
Bronze Medal Game: Canada vs. Finland
After losing 6-5 to Russia two nights earlier, it was Bronze or Bust for Canada.
After exchanging minor penalties within the first several minutes of the opening period, Tanner Pearson would get Canada on the board with a powerplay goal to make it 1-0 at 9:08. Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele would make it 2-0 5:35 into the second. A penalty shot was awarded to Finland 7:49 into the period as Mark Visentin was cited for throwing an stick/any object. Teemu Pulkkinen would miss on the penalty shot, keeping the score at 2-0 for Canada. With 31 seconds to go in the period, Quinten Howden would extend the Canada lead to 3-0 on the powerplay. Canada would close out the scoring on another Howden goal, with 2:25 to go in the game. Canada wins the Bronze with a 4-0 shutout over Finland.
Gold Medal Game: Sweden vs. Russia
This would become a game for the ages. The only penalty of the first period was taken by Yevgeni Kuznetsov at 8:50. Russia would take two more penalties in the second, a boarding call against Artyom Sergeyev at 5:39, and a hold by Grigori Zheldakov at 11:43. Jeremy Boyce Rotevall would go off for elbowing at at 16:33. Both teams exchange a penalty in the third, Ludvig Rensfeldt going off for Delay of Game at 8:44, and Mikhail Naumenkov sitting for hooking at 12:49. Shots through regulation were 17-3 Sweden in the first, 22-1 Sweden in the second, and 12-11 Russia in the third, total of 50-16 through 60 minutes. And in all that time, nobody scores a goal. The game goes to a full 20-minute sudden death overtime period, for which if nobody managed to get one in there, a shootout would be required to decide the whole enchilada. Sweden having the edge in shots all through the game would fire seven more (while Russia had one) before a steal by Mika Zibanejad, an Ottawa Senators prospect who started this season in the NHL before being sent back to his Swedish Elite League team. He would take possession of the puck and go in all alone with only one Russian opposing him, and Zibanejad fires the puck. It goes in past Andrei Makarov (who plays for the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades at the time of this game), and it’s all over! Zibanejad scores the game’s only goal, 10:09 into overtime, giving Sweden their first Gold Medal at the World Juniors in 31 years! No more 1981! The game ends with a 1-0 Sweden victory, and they finally get their due. Makarov was outstanding in the game for Russia, stopping 57 of 58 shots. Johan Gustafsson was not too shabby himself, stopping all 17 shots he faced. Sweden takes Gold while Russia settles for Silver.
Well, that’s it for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships. Next time we see this tournament, it’ll take place in Ufa, Russia, and there’ll be some night owls and/or early risers for this particular tournament, depending on which part of the world we’re in. As for the next major international hockey tournament that may involve some of these junior players depending on how they progress around the world, including during the playoffs in North America, that’ll occur in May in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland as the World Hockey Championships will occur. Team Canada will be looking to end a Gold Medal slump that goes back to when they lost the Gold Medal Game to Russia in overtime in 2008 when the tournament was held in Quebec City and Halifax. Canada last won Gold in 2007.