Mason McTavish finished as the top scorer in the World Junior Hockey Championship. He was also named the tournament’s most valuable player. A shot from the air kept Saturday’s championship final alive and set the stage for Kent Johnson to score the golden goal in extra time and give Canada a 3-2 win over Finland.
And then, after a draw at home, the Canadians struggled when Niemela had a glorious chance to win it. He was so sure his effort would win the tournament that his arms were in the air. And then came McTavish: “It’s tough, it was a great hockey game, I don’t know what to say,” Niemela said after the game, fighting back tears. “It was very close, about an inch… No, I don’t know how he figured that out.”
It was a good save. And then came Johnson, who caught a pass from Logan Stankoven and deflected his own shot to give Canada the gold medal. “I saw a good pull from Stank, I thought he pushed it in, and I thought if I went the other way all five holes would open up,” Johnson said. “I had a lot more space and luckily I hit the rebound there. , it was just huge.
“And your reaction to the McTavish miracle?
“I didn’t quite see it. I didn’t know it was blown up or anything. I just thought it was on the ice, I didn’t think too much about it.
Of course, I was a bit nervous, the puck was on the goal line. Then I saw the video and thought: Wow.
What an action. That was OT’s best piece. The Canadians had many chances to bury the Finns, but usually went 7-0 on the power play. The Finns only had a reduced one-man lead.
This was the first time in the entire tournament that the Canadians faced real adversity. From the group stage through the knockout rounds, Canada’s smallest margin was three. But the gold medal game against Finland presented a new kind of challenge for the Canadians as the opponent went into a defensive shell from the opening bull-off.
The Finns clogged the middle of the ice and disrupted the flow of the game. As Canada gained control of the puck on the Finnish wing, four of Finland’s five fielders collapsed in front of their own goal in
, acting as a block for goalkeeper Juha Jatkola.
From above it looked like the Finns would only play with one forward and four defenders. But Canada broke through the Finnish blockade at 11:18 am on the first. McTavish came out from behind the Finnish goal, his shot was saved by Jatkola but the rebound landed on Roy who didn’t miss.
At 12:05, Finland’s Kalle Vaisanen finally scored his team’s first shot on goal. Canada didn’t give the Finns a chance to stop them in the second. Just 41 seconds into the third, Dufour’s palm shot went past Jatkola. Johnson had a chance to improve his team by three midway through the section but was thwarted by Jatkola the breakaway chance.
They came out with more offensive determination in the final third, halving Canada’s lead at 4:09. Heimosalmi’s goal shot floated through traffic and sailed over the shoulder of Canada goalkeeper Dylan Garand. At 10:46 the Finns got the draw.
The goal, with Kemell scoring a perfect pass from Niemela. “Obviously there’s a lot of emotion there,” said Raty, who finished the tournament with 10 points. “I thought we scored.
I think we had some good opportunities. I felt like we controlled the game. But it was a quick break from them, and right there on the goal line, Johnson got the shot. Canada surpassed the Finns 33-31. Will this Canadian performance go down in junior world history?
Ahead of the final, Switzerland was in the best position to make the Canadians sweat in this tournament, who edged the Canadians 5-3 in the quarter-finals, a game the Canadians would win 6-3. Canada won all four Group A games by an aggregate score of 27-7.
But in 2005, Canada’s strongest youth team, featuring the likes of Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Perry, went into the group stage 4-0-0, scoring 32 goals and conceding just five.
The Canadians defeated the Czechs 3-1 in the semifinals and defeated Russia 6-1 in the final. While junior worlds were plagued by weak attendance, the gold medal game featured the event’s largest and liveliest crowd.
For the only time during the tournament, seats were opened to fans in the Upper Bowl at Rogers Place.