Team Canada gets a chance to defend its World Junior Championship gold medal on Thursday against Russia.
Thursday’s 7 p.m. (EST) title game will be a rematch of last year’s World Junior Championship finale in North Dakota as Canada rolled to a 6-1 win over the Russians. It will be the fifth time since 1999 the two countries have met in the WJC title contest.
Both teams advanced to the gold medal contest with semifinal wins on Tuesday in Vancouver. Team Canada (5-0) shut out Finland, 4-0, while Russia (5-0) rolled past the United States, 5-1.
Finland (3-3) and the United States (3-2-1) battle for the bronze medal Thursday at 3 p.m.
In Team Canada’s victory, the squad posted a 2-0 lead heading into the third period. The Canadians sealed the win as defenseman Kris Letang, Pittsburgh’s 2005 third-round pick (62nd overall), scored a power-play goal – his first of the tournament. Team Canada added another tally in the shutout triumph.
Penguins prospect Evgeni Malkin, the 2004 second-overall pick, help set up Russia’s first goal in the first period as he assisted on the first of Nikolai Kulemin’s two goals.
Russia’s 1-0 lead held up through the second period. Kulemin’s second goal made it 2-0 before the United States struck back with Jack Skille’s power-play goal.
However, Malkin set up Alexei Emelin’s goal 29 seconds later. Russia added two more goals to wrap up the victory.
Malkin’s two assists tied him for the WJC scoring lead with United States forward Phil Kessel. Malkin has four goals and six assists for 10 points in five games, while Kessel, regarded as the top prospect in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, has one goal and nine assists in six games. He did not register a point Tuesday night.
For complete tournament information, game reports, box scores, schedules and photos, please log on to www.hockeycanada.ca.
Statistical information, rosters and schedules also are available on the International Ice Hockey Federation website at www.iihf.com.