CALGARY -- Mika Zibanejad had a feeling when he woke up this morning that today was going to be a big day for him. He was right.
Zibanejad scored the only goal of the gold medal game 10:09 into overtime, giving Sweden a 1-0 victory against Russian for its first World Junior Championship in 31 years.
The Ottawa Senators prospect picked up a loose puck near the red line, busted down right wing, cut in front of Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov and went forehand-to-backhand to lift Sweden to the win and 18,722 spectators at the Scotiabank Saddledome to their feet.
It was a proclamation he made to teammate Jeremy Boyce Rotevall -- twice.
"He told me this morning he was going to finish this game off," Boyce Rotevall said.
Zibanejad, the sixth player taken in the 2011 NHL Draft, confirmed that fact with a gold medal around his neck and a big smile on his face.
"I told him before the overtime, too," he said. "This morning was a joke, but it's not a joke anymore. It was good to get that goal. You have to decide you want to win this."
Sweden's last title came in 1981, 12 years before Zibanejad was born.
"We haven't won in 31 years so I mean, it's wonderful to win now," he said.
CALGARY -- Max Friberg of Sweden will head home with a little something extra to go along with his gold medal.
Friberg was one of six players named to the World Junior Championship All-Star Team as selected by the media.
Too busy celebrating Sweden's first gold medal at the event since 1981, Friberg wasn't even aware of the honor. During interviews after Sweden's 1-0 OT win against Russia in Thursday's gold medal game, he was more enamored with the reward dangling around his neck.
"Thank you very much, but this is what's really important, this is what matters the most," Friberg said, pointing to his gold medal. "Of course, I'm happy that (the media) liked my game. "But (gold) is what really matters."
Russia's Yevgeni Kuznetsov was also named to the team along with Finland's Mikael Granlund. Defensemen Oscar Klefbom (Sweden) and Brandon Gormley (Canada) and goaltender Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic) rounded out the team.
Though Russia came up a goal short in the gold medal game, the media named Kuznetsov as the tournament's most valuable player.
Kuznetsov was also named the tournament's best forward as selected by the championship directorate. Gormley and Mrazek were cited as the top defenseman and goalie, respectively.
It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.