KAZAN, Russia - Life was easy with gold on the line for Jake Allen thanks to a big start by Jordan Eberle and Canada's under-18 hockey team.
Eberle scored two first-period goals as Canada stormed out to a commanding 5-0 lead after 20 minutes en route to a lopsided 8-0 win over Russia in the under-18 world hockey championship final Wednesday.
Allen stopped 29 shots to register his second shutout of the tournament. After the contest, he was named both the event's top goalie as well as the tournament MVP.
Allen said the Canadian team came into the game feeling it had something to prove for a couple of reasons. First, there was talk when the squad was selected that not all the best players in Canada were on it.
And then there was a 4-2 loss in a preliminary round game to the Russians, the pre-tournament favourites, that stood as Canada's only loss of the tournament.
"I think we had something to prove since the beginning of the tournament," Allen said. "A lot of people were saying how our roster wasn't as good as previous years and that we didn't have the best team on paper.
"But that shows that it doesn't matter how good your team is on paper."
Nicolas Deshamps, Corey Tivino, Brayden Schenn, Tyler Cuma, Brandon McMillan and Taylor Hall also scored for Canada.
The game marked the first time that Canada and Russia had met in an under-18 final and Wednesday's outcome was the most lopsided gold-medal game in tournament history.
Canadian team head coach Pat Quinn had nothing but lavish praise for his players.
"We couldn't have had a better character bunch of young men than this group together," he said. "They truly came together as a team and yes, maybe there was more skilled guys that we didn't bring over here but that just points out the skills-only part of the equation.
"There is skill and character and we had an abundant character with this crew."
Quinn said Canada's quick start to the game was key to the victory. He added the Canadians knew the Russians liked to take some chances early and were able to take full advantage.
"We just seemed to be so alert around our chances," he said. "We knew that they take some risks early with the way they attack.
"Our guys followed the original gameplan very well. You can't teach the kinds of things that they showed: The ability to score goals when it counted. They had their chances and our guys put them in."
The gold medal was Canada's second in this event.
Quinn has taken part in Stanley Cup championship games and led Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002. But he says this title ranks up among his top achievements.
"We won a gold today but we had a gold coming over with these kids because of the kind of young men that they were," Quinn said. "I'm really proud to be a Canadian today.
"Yes, it (winning) never gets tiring. Tired of winning, are you kidding? I'd be happy for more opportunities."
The United States defeated Sweden 6-3 to win the bronze medal.
Robbie Czarnik and Jeremy Morin scored two goals apiece for the U.S., which was the silver medallist last year. Ryan Bourque and Jeremy Morin had the others.
Henrik Bjorklund, Martin Lundberg and Victor Hedman scored for Sweden, which won the bronze last year.