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Canada ends gold-medal drought at world juniors with 5-4 win over Russia

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - Canada's gold-medal drought at the world junior hockey championship is over.

Max Domi was named the top forward of the tournament after scoring and adding two assists on Monday in Canada's 5-4 victory over Russia in the event's final.

Domi, the son of former NHLer Tie Domi, finished the tournament with five goals and 10 points in seven contests. It's Canada's first world junior championship since 2009.

"That was a once in lifetime opportunity and we took advantage of it," said Domi.

Anthony Duclair, Nick Paul, Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart also scored as Canada built a 5-1 lead.

"Everyone did their part," said captain Curtis Lazar. "No one stood out any further than others."

Dmitri Yudin, Ivan Barbashev, Sergey Tolchinsky and Nikolai Goldobin scored for Russia, which climbed back in to the game after a strong second period.

Zach Fucale finished with 26 saves, enough to get the job done as Canada clung to a 5-4 lead for the entire third period. His two biggest saves may have come with 12 and four seconds left to play as Russia was playing with an extra attacker.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to congratulate our junior men's hockey team on their incredible achievement at this year's World Junior Hockey Championship," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in an official statement. "I would also like to extend my congratulations to the team's coaches and organizers, who played a pivotal role in this success."

Canada versus Russia is one of the most storied rivalries in hockey, and perhaps in all of sports. Canada's narrow victory over the Soviet Union at the 1972 Summit Series is still a source of pride.

The rivalry is just as strong at the junior level. The Soviet Union won the first official world junior championship in 1977, beating Canada 6-4 in its final game to post a perfect 7-0 record.

Since then Canada has won gold 16 times, with Russia or the Soviet Union winning another 12 titles. Russia and Canada have met eight times in the gold medal game since the breakup of the Soviet Union, with Canada winning five titles and Russia four.

The classic matchup was good news for the International Ice Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada, as it distracted from some of the problems the event faced, including complaints of high ticket prices and disappointing attendance in Montreal.

Hockey Canada president Tom Renney pledged his commitment to Montreal on Monday. That city is scheduled to host Canada's medal-round games at the 2017 world junior championship. Helsinki, Finland, will host the 2016 event.

But the IIHF said Sunday that it will "consider all options" heading into the 2017 event. IIHF president Rene Fasel also suggested that ticket prices for the games were too high.

"I was really surprised," Fasel said at a news conference. "If you would do this pricing in Europe, you would have nobody in the arena."

Face-value tickets for games in Montreal started at $71 and ranged to $336 for the New Year's Eve game between Canada and the United States, which drew 18,295 fans. Just 14,142 fans were in attendance for Canada's opening game against Slovakia on Boxing Day.

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