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WJC NOTES - January 4, 2005

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

NYR World Junior Championship Coverage >>

PHOTO: Nigel Dawes collected an assist in Canada's 6-1 win over Russia in the gold medal game. RECAPS: January 4, 2005 >>

Gold Medal Game: Canada 6, Russia 1

Box Score >>
Mission accomplished. With 12 veterans and 11 first round NHL draft picks, Canada's mandate was clear, put and end to a seven-year drought and bring the U20 World Championship gold medal back home. And Canada did just that, overpowering Russia in a 6-1 win.

The victory was the most lopsided gold medal game since the IIHF adopted a format that included a golden game.

The only time the game was really in doubt was at the end of the first period when Alexei Emelin scored a power-play goal to pull Russia to within one, making it a 2-1 game. But Canada came out in the second period and removed all doubt with four unanswered goals. 3:33 into the period Jeff Carter fired in a goal that prompted Russia to replace goaltender Anton Khudobin with Andrei Kuznetsov. The Bergeron-Crosby-Perry line combined for Canada's fourth goal four minutes late, which essentially deflated the Russians hopes.

Adding to Russia's second-period woes was an injury to captain Alexander Ovechkin, who left the ice late in the period. Canada added two additional goals before the end of the stanza, making it a 6-1 game. Anthony Stewart and Dion Phaneuf scored the late-period goals.

With most of the mystery removed, things settled down in the third period as the teams maintained the status quo and Canada skated to the gold medal win.

Canada's Patrice Bergeron was named the Tournament MVP and defenseman Dion Phaneuf was named the Best Defenseman. Russia's Alexander Ovechkin was named the Best Forward and rounding out the awards was the Czech Republic's Marek Schwarz, who was named the Best Goaltender.

Bronze medal game - Czech Republic 3, United States 2 (OT)

Box Score >>
It probably wasn't the shot that Peter Vrana planned to take when he found himself on a breakaway in overtime of the bronze medal game against the United States, but his fanned shot found its way to the back of the net and gave the Czech Republic the bronze medal at the 2005 IIHF World U20 Championship.

Vrana's goal came amid a flurry of United States opportunities in the overtime period, but a turnover left Vrana on the breakaway and all alone. It looked like he was planning on taking the shot high, but instead he missed slightly and surprised U.S. goaltender Al Montoya with a low shot that fluttered in.

The goal gave the Czechs their first medal at the U20 championship since 2001. Meanwhile, the defending gold medallists and hosts, which had a chance to make USA Hockey history with the first-ever, back-to-back medal finishes, will go home empty handed.

Marek Schwarz again turned in a strong performance for the Czechs, making 33 saves, including four that came in the overtime period as the United States applied heavy pressure. The U.S., which came out to a slow start, improved as the game went on, and dominated most of the short overtime period.

For the fourth game at the championship. The U.S. found itself down early after Michal Polak scored a power-play goal just 3:26 into the game. Kevin Porter evened the game at one with his power-play tally before the period was over.

In the second period, the teams again exchanged goals. Michael Frolik gave the Czechs a slim lead 6:03 into the period, but Drew Stafford erased the margin with a tic-tac-toe, power-play goal. A scoreless third period set up the overtime and Vrana's heroics. The goal was Vrana's fifth of the championship.
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