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Volchenkov golden for Russia in '02

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Anton Volchenkov hoisted the hardware as a member of Russia's goal-medal winning team at the 2002 IIHF World Junior Championship. He had the winnng goal as Russia edged Canada 5-4 in the final (HHOF-IIHF Images).

Anton Volchenkov's fearless style of play has endeared him to Ottawa Senators fans over the years.

He'll throw his body in front of just about any opposition shot and worry about the pain or the bruises later. Scoring goals? That's hardly the biggest part of Volchenkov's game. He's netted a mere dozen of them in 326 regular-season games with the Senators.

All of which, perhaps, adds even more lustre to the biggest of goals that Volchenkov scored for his homeland at the 2002 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic. His shot from the point with 13:09 to play eluded Canadian goaltender Pascal Leclaire and allowed Russia to take home a 5-4 victory and the WJC gold.

"It's a big memory for me," said Volchenkov. "We won a gold medal against Canada."

The burly blueliner considers it the biggest goal of his hockey career. Only his winner in Game 4 of the Senators' first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007 compares with it. The goal gave Ottawa a 2-1 victory and a 3-1 stranglehold in a series it would go on to win en route to the Stanley Cup final.

"This was probably bigger," Volchenkov said of his 2002 winner against Canada. "It was very important for Russia to win the (world) junior championship."

The goal also spoiled the golden dreams of two of his current Senators teammates. Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza were both part of Team Canada's roster that season. And yes, Volchenkov reminds them about it on occasion.

"I still haven't heard the end of Volchy scoring the game-winner for Russia against us (in 2002)," said Spezza with a laugh. "That was a few years ago now. But it's something that gets talked about for a long time.

"We definitely hear about it every once in awhile."

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