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Team Canada wins gold at World Juniors

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
OTTAWA -- Of all the players most under scrutiny going into Monday's gold-medal game at the 2009 World Junior Championship, none was being looked at closer than goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

It was almost by acclimation that goaltending was the one place Sweden had a clear advantage. Tokarski had allowed nine goals on 55 shots in his last two games, while Sweden's Jacob Markstrom, a 2008 second-round pick of the Florida Panthers, is considered one of the best goaltenders in the Swedish Elite League at just 18 years old.

Monday night, though, it was Tokarski who played like the superstar netminder, turning aside everything that came his way as Canada topped Sweden, 5-1, to complete its run to a fifth straight gold medal.

Cody Hodgson had a 2 goals and an assist, P.K. Subban, Angelo Esposito and Jordan Eberle added goals and Canada killed off all seven Sweden power plays to win its 15th gold medal in the 32-year history of the elite under-20 international tournament.

Joakim Anderson scored Sweden's lone goal.

Mattias Tedenby, the Devils' first pick, 24th overall, in 2008, finished the tournament with one goal and four assists for Sweden. Patrice Cormier, New Jersey's third pick, 54th overall in 2008, registered a goal and an assist in the tournament for Canada.

It's the second time Canada has won five straight WJC titles, following a run from 1993-97.

Hodgson, who led the tournament in scoring with 16 points, joined Tavares and Subban on the tournament all-star team, joined by Slovakia goalie Jaroslav Janus, Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson and Russia forward Nikita Filatov. Tavares, who led all players with 8 goals and finished second to Hodgson with 15 points, was named the tournament MVP. He had an assist on Esposito's goal.

Canada dominated the first period, starting with Subban's goal 38 seconds into the game. Ryan Ellis sent a pass down low to Hodgson, who wheeled in front and tried to stuff a puck past Markstrom. He was denied, but Subban jumped on the rebound and shot it in.

Sweden carried the play in the second period, but Canada killed off all four Sweden power plays, backed by strong play by Tokarski, who stopped all 16 Sweden shots.

A penalty on Sweden's Mikael Backlund at the final horn of the second period allowed Canada to start the third on the power play, and Hodgson took advantage, using Anton Persson as a screen to score from the circle 33 seconds into the third.

The teams traded chances in the third period, with Andersson's goal coming on a great individual effort. He got around Tavares and went behind the Canada net, wheeled out in front and fired a shot that hit off Canada defenseman Thomas Hickey and got past Tokarski.

Eberle and Hodgson added empty-net goals to close the scoring.

Canada will have the home-nation advantage in its quest for a sixth straight title when the 2010 event is held in Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Contact Adam Kimelman at
Author: Adam Kimelman | Staff Writer

Team USA beats Czech Republic in overtime to capture fifth place
James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./University of New Hampshire) scored in overtime to lift Team USA to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in the fifth-place game at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

Mike Hoeffel, New Jersey's 1st choice, 57th overall in 2007, finished the tournament with a goal and two assists for the United States.

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