Jake Virtanen becomes the first Canucks prospect to win gold at the World Juniors since 2010, while Gustav Forsling didn’t medal, but did earn individual praise.
Canada (5) – Russia (4)
Jake Virtanen: 1 assist
It appeared as though Canada would coast to their first gold medal in six years, jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the middle stanza, but Russia wouldn’t quit, making the Canadians earn every inch of their 5-4 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night.
Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Connor McDavid, Nick Paul and Sam Reinhart each scored once, while Zachary Fucale turned aside 26 shots in goal.
Jake Virtanen finished with one assist on the night, ending his tournament with four points (1-3-4) and a plus-4 rating.
The Abbotsford, BC product is the first Canucks prospects to win gold since Jordan Schroeder did so with the United States in 2010. Virtanen, the third youngest player on the team, is eligible to play for Canada once again next year when the tournament is hosted in Finland, the birth country of his father, Rainer.
Slovakia (4) – Sweden (2)
Gustav Forsling: 3 shots
For a team that appeared poised to compete for the gold medal, they will go home with nothing.
Led by great goaltending from Denis Godla, Slovakia stunned the hockey world by taking a 4-2 win over the talented Swedes on Monday afternoon in Toronto to capture the bronze medal.
Gustav Forsling was held off the scoresheet for the second straight game, but finishes the tournament with eight points (3-5-8) in seven games, tops among all defencemen. In fact, no other blue-liner had more than four points.
The Canucks fifth-round pick in 2014 was named to the media All-Star team for the tournament.
Forsling’s awareness while quarterbacking the power play, along with his powerful shot, made himself a household name at the event. And like Virtanen, Forsling is eligible to play next year in Helsinki as well.