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Takara_Soong

World Junior Hockey Championship

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For the second year in a row Canada has won the World Junior Hockey Championship beating Russia 5-0 in the gold medal game. Earlier today, Finland defeated the US 4-2 for the bronze medal.

 

It was a great gold medal game. End to end action, lots of great physical play, spectacular offensive chances and great goaltending.

 

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From TSN.ca:

Teams like Russia and the United States had a wealth of talent on paper going into the 2006 world junior hockey championship.

 

But when all was said and done, it was good old-fashioned teamwork that won the gold medal - for Canada.

Michael Blunden scored twice, and Steve Downie, Blake Comeau and Kyle Chipchura added singles, while Justin Pogge stopped 35 shots for his third shutout as Canada blanked Russia 5-0 to win its second straight world junior title.

 

The back-to-back titles are the first for Canada since 1996 and 1997, when the country capped a run of five straight. It was also Canada's 12th title since the tournament's inception in 1974.

 

Despite having a younger and less-experienced roster compared to last year - defenceman Cam Barker was the only returning player from the 2005 team - head coach Brent Sutter's no-nonsense philosophy of hard work and attention to detail shone throughout the tournament. The end result was impressive.

 

Only one Canadian player - Comeau - cracked the top 10 in scoring, a testament to the work from all four lines.

 

Sutter improved to 12-0 in his two years at the helm of the national team and is now the winningest Canadian coach in the history of this tournament.

 

After blanking the Finland in the semifinals, Pogge now has the longest shutout streak in Canadian history, and his three shutouts in one tournament are also a Canadian record.

 

"I really felt comfortable with the team that we had," Sutter told TSN. "They stuck together as a team, played hard, competed and stayed with the program. Tonight showed their commitment.

 

"A lot of people underestimated the skill we had on this team."

 

Despite being out shot 15 -8 in the first period, Canada worked harder and was more willing to pay the physical price in the Russian zone.

 

Canada was then able to capitalize as Downie and Comeau scored two quick goals for a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

 

Television replays in the opening minutes of the second period showed the puck getting across the goal-line behind Pogge. The Russians had a long discussion with American referee Brian Thul, but the score remained 2-0.

 

Canada's power play then came to life, as Blunden scored his first two goals of the tournament with the man advantage. Blunden shoveled a loose puck that got loose in a goal-mouth scramble over Anton Khudobin at 14:44, and then knocked in a rebound on a Barker shot from the blueline at 12:02.

Chipchura padded the lead to 5-0 in the third period, beating Khudobin on the short side.

 

"We believed in ourselves all along," said Chipchura. "This is what we came here to do and we did it."

 

In perfect Sutter style, the Russians were held scoreless on six power play opportunities. Marc Staal - who was named the best defenceman in the tournament - was given the task of covering Russian sniper Evgeni Malkin and successfully held him off the scoresheet

 

Pogge stole the show from there, making tough saves for the first period and a half.

 

"We came out and played our game," Pogge told TSN. "We're in Canada, the gold stays here in Canada."

 

With the gold medal win, Canada has tied the Soviet Union winning a medal for the eighth consecutive year (1999-2006). The Soviets accomplished the feat from 1974 to 1981.

 

Canada also won gold on home ice for the first time since 1995, when Red Deer hosted the event. Canada had lost to Russia on home soil by one goal in the final of the 1999 tournament in Winnipeg and in the 2003 final Halifax.

Edited by Takara_Soong

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Awesome game, awesome tournament by Canada. Amazing team effort. Fewest goals allowed with 3 shutouts. Last year's team was outstanding, this team didn't have as much talent but came together as a team wonderfully. This team wasn't projected to play in this game when the tournament began (the U.S. and Russia were favoured but finished 4th and 2nd respectively). Fantastic, I love this tourament and winning a gold medal in Canada makes it that much sweeter,

 

WAY TO GO CANADA!!!!!

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