In case you've missed it, there's been some captivating hockey going on the past couple of weeks, also known as the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. It's compelling to hockey fans, but especially to Ducks fans now that three Anaheim prospects (all drafted consecutively by the Ducks in 2011) have made it to Saturday's gold medal game.
Defending champion Team Sweden, which earned a berth into the final with a 3-2 shootout win over Russia today, has a forward corps that includes right wing Rickard Rakell (taken by the Ducks 30th overall in '11) and center William Karlsson (53rd). Rakell leads Sweden and ranks tied for fifth in the tournament with five assists, while Karlsson has two helpers in five games. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm, taken in the first round by the Ducks in 2012 and playing well at Norfolk this year, has missed the tournament with an injury.
But one of the biggest stars of the tournament is Team USA goalie John Gibson, who (39th overall pick in '11), who helped the Americans to the gold medal game with 33 saves in a 5-1 win over Canada in today's semis. Gibson leads the tournament in goals-against average and save percentage, and is tied for first in wins (4-2, 1.42 GAA & .954 SV%). Here's a highlight package of his handiwork in the tournament.
If you don't already know about Gibson, he's a big boy (6-3, 212 pounds) who has shined the last couple of seasons with Kitchener of the OHL. He put in some time at Ducks training camp last year, and Ducks fans last saw him at last summer's conditioning camp (here's an interview he did during that camp).
For now, Gibson is all about getting the U.S. its second gold medal in the last four years (also 2010) after he and the Americans settled for bronze last year. If you're interested in the gold medal game, set the alarm and get the coffee ready. It will be aired at 5 a.m. PT on NHL Network and TSN and streamed on NHL.com.
Hopefully we'll see more of the below regarding Gibson. Here are some of the tweets from reporters, bloggers and others praising his performance in this year's tournament: