January 22, 2020
With just 3:58 left in the third period, Akil Thomas of Canada scored the goal that finished off an aggressive comeback and secured a 4-3 victory over Russia, securing Canada’s 18th gold medal in the World Juniors.
Canada had outscored opponents 22-5 over its last four games, yet moments before they won, with under 2 minutes remaining, they were down 3-1. They fought off a two man advantage and scored three goals, including a backhander by Thomas as he fell to the ice. Fortunately for Canada, a clearing attempt that appeared to hit a camera outside of play was not called for a delay of game penalty, which would have given Russia a 6-on-3 situation with 1:47 remaining. Even so, Russia imploded and took another penalty for playing with a broken stick, and Canada was able to run out the clock with a 5-on-3 man advantage before bursting into a well earned celebration.
This long-lasting rivalry will continue, as Russia is closest to Canada in gold medals attained, and is leading Canada in overall medals won. Now defending champions, Canada may still have to fend off Russia next year, and chances are that we will battle it out again soon.