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2012 World Junior Championship

Depth and top talent gives Sweden gold

Friday, 01.06.2012 / 12:39 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Risto Pakarinen - NHL.com Correspondent

"Anybody can be the guy to score the winning goal for the team and be the hero. We had a lot of guys not reaching their potential before this game -- that's Mika. Saving his best game when we needed it the most … he was really good today." -- Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg

Risto Pakarinen is an NHL.com correspondent based in Stockholm who has covered the international hockey scene for the past two decades.

If you've waited for something for 31 years, what's another ten minutes, right? Maybe the fact that the final of the 2012 World Junior Championship went into overtime just made the wait and the victory even sweeter. Maybe Sweden had to get to a couple of finals in 2008 and 2009 and lose.

Or maybe the 2012 team was just one special bunch of players.

A special bunch, just like the guys on the 1981 gold-medal winning team – Lars Eriksson, Peter Åslin, Håkan Nordin, Patrik Sundström, Roger Hägglund, Jan Erixon, Jan Ingman, Peter Sundsträm, Jens Öhling, Mikael Thelven, Michael Granstedt, Peter Andersson, Martin Pettersson, Anders Björklund, Anders Jonsson, Peter Madach, Peter Nilsson, Robert Nordmark, Ove Pettersson, and Dan Nicklasson.

Swedes beat Russia 1-0 in OT for WJC gold

Friday, 01.06.2012 / 1:11 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

CALGARY -- Mika Zibanejad wasn't even born the last time Sweden earned a gold medal at the World Junior Championship.
On Thursday, he ended 30 years of frustration.
In one swooping motion, the 2011 first-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators drove down his right wing and broke in one-on-one against Russian goalie Andrei Makarov before backhanding a shot into the net 10:09 into overtime to send his team and an entire nation into a state of delirium with a 1-0 victory before 18,722 at Scotiabank Saddledome.
"Is it the biggest goal of my career? Right now it is," Zibanejad told the media following a locker-room celebration with teammates. "I haven't played this big a stage before and to get a goal like this is amazing."

Visentin's highlight-reel save highlights Canada win

Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 7:58 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Mark Visentin had seen it before.

Taking a three-goal lead into the third period in the gold medal game a year ago, Visentin watched as the Russians pumped five goals by him to steal the World Junior Championship title from Canada.

With a three-goal lead over Finland heading into the third period of the bronze medal game Thursday, Visentin made sure history wasn't about to repeat itself -- and in spectacular fashion, no less. 

Hamilton brothers enjoy playing together with Team Canada

Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 7:54 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

CALGARY -- How important was it for the Canadian National Junior Team to win its final game of the 2012 World Junior Championship on Thursday and garner a bronze medal in the process?
Just ask Team Canada defenseman and Boston Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton.
After being struck squarely on the right ankle after a shot by Finland's Miro Aaltonen with less than eight minutes remaining in the first period and his team holding a 1-0 lead, Hamilton immediately went to one knee -- much to the dismay of the Canadian fans in attendance at Scotiabank Saddledome.

He didn't let an aching ankle keep him off the ice, not even for a shift.

Canada beats Finland 4-0 for WJC bronze medal

Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 7:27 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY – The silver lining for Canada's World Junior Championship is bronze.

Paced by a pair of goals by Quinton Howden, Canada blanked Finland 4-0 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday to capture the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships.

Though it was a lesser medal than the silver Howden received last year, he said the bronze still holds significant meaning.

"It's special," Howden said. "We won this medal. We come away with a good feeling. We come here for gold, that's what we wanted, but this medal still means a lot to us." 

Czechs bounce Slovakia for fifth place at WJC

Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 11:29 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY – A quick start finished the World Junior Championship for the Czech Republic.
A motivated Czech team scored three first-period goals and didn’t look back on the way to beating rival Slovakia 5-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome Wednesday night, earning fifth place at the World Junior Championship.

The spirited Czechs got a shot behind starter Juraj Simboch before Slovakia could manage a shot on goal.

Team USA edges Switzerland 2-1

Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 7:27 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

CALGARY -- Jack Campbell was in no mood to celebrate after establishing a record for most career goalie victories at the World Junior Championship on Wednesday -- even though he made 21 saves to lead the U.S. National Junior Team to a 2-1 victory over Switzerland in relegation-round play before 10,624 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"It's a special honor that I can't really say I'm happy about because of the disappointing finish," Campbell told reporters after the game.
Campbell, who recorded his third victory of the tournament, passed Al Montoya for most wins at the tournament in three years. His victory over Switzerland improved his three-year WJC mark to 8-2-1-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in 14 appearances. Campbell has helped the Americans to a gold medal (2010) and a bronze (2011) at the WJC.

Canada, Finland go for bronze after tough losses

Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 3:33 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Canada and Finland played on the opening day of the 2012 World Junior Championship at Rexall Place in Edmonton, and now they'll play on the last day of action in the bronze medal game at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Despite a medal on the line, the consolation match (3:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) will be a difficult game for the two teams to play after both clubs were dealt tough losses in semifinal action. Facing the same situation, members of both teams echoed that sentiment after failing to earn a berth in the championship game.

Russia eyes repeat; Swedes seek to end gold drought

Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 1:29 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

CALGARY -- Russia and Sweden will renew acquaintances on a grand stage Thursday when the countries collide in the gold-medal game of the 2012 IIHF U-20 World Junior Championship at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The game, scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, is an intriguing rematch between clubs that finished atop the Group A pool during preliminary-round competition.
On one side, players from Russia are ecstatic to be getting another shot against the only team to beat them this tournament. Sweden connected for three unanswered goals and outshot the Russians 22-4 in the third period on New Year’s Eve before Joakim Nordstrom sealed the comeback victory 2:44 into overtime.

Canada 'learned the hard way' in WJC loss to Russia

Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 12:18 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"We kind of dug ourselves into a hole and we can't do that. We learned the hard way. It's unfortunate we had to learn in that fashion. It's hockey and it happens. It's a life lesson for all of us."
-- Canada goalie Mark Visentin

CALGARY -- One by one, members of the Canadian National Junior Team were asked to express their disappointment after once again being shut out of a gold medal at the World Junior Championship.
It's not an easy thing to do, particularly when your emotions are still sky high following a tough loss and the brain is flooded with thoughts that need to be conveyed intelligently and with some measure of grace.
Their eyes were bloodshot and, at times, their chins slowly dropped to their chests. But they would all prove their character and professionalism in the wake of what had to be one of the most disappointing finishes of their hockey careers.
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