Bookend goals in the first period of play and a standout performance by a player who is a first round draft pick of a National Hockey League club propelled RUSSIA past CANADA 2-1 in the BRONZE MEDAL MATCH of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships watched by the audience of 10,713 spectators at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.
The result marked the second consecutive year in which the Russians edged their traditional rivals from North America for third place honors at the planet’s premier ice hockey tournament for players under 20 years of age.
The scoreline in Malmo also means that the Russia have now defeated Canada at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships for a third year on the trot but continues to trail in the all-time series between the two nations (the Canucks have won ten, lost eight with two draws). However, if one includes the record of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it is the Russians who now hold a slim historical lead with 16 wins against 15 losses with two ties. The particular match-up has been especially close on the scoreboard, as well, over the last two decades with eleven out of the last sixteen contests between Canada and Russia having been settled by exactly one goal.
Russia center MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO (25) from the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by captain ANTON SLEPYSHEV of Salavat Yulayev Ufa and defenseman PAVEL ZADOROV (16), the first round selection (# 16 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2012 NHL Draft who is currently skating in the Canadian junior system for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, after scoring the first goal of the game to determine which nation gets to depart Sweden in possession of the set of shiny bronze medals handed out at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
Canada, icing a team in Sweden that included no fewer than eleven players who are coveted first round draft picks of National Hockey League clubs, are clearly disappointed at the dreadful prospect of having to depart Malmo a little lighter in the luggage than they might have hoped. Fact is, this is the first time that the Canadians have failed to earn a medal of any kind at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships since the winter of 1980/81. At that point in time, there was no true junior national team as it was Canada’s custom to simply send the current Memorial Cup holder but, of course, everything changed after the 1981 tournament held in West Germany.
The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, to review, immediately implemented its so-called “Program of Excellence” in order to attain better results (read, defeat the Soviet Union) at international junior tournaments. And the very first dividends were paid out quickly at the 1982 IIHF World Junior Championships hosted by a variety of cities in the State of Minnesota south of the border. It was there in the United States that a pioneering Canada absolutely crushed the U.S.S.R. 7-0 in the round robin (a result that must live on for eternity as the most crushing loss that the Soviet U-20s ever suffered at the planet’s most high profile competition for teenagers) on its way to winning its very first gold medal in the annual competition that was officially recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation first in 1977.
How the Canadians chooose to cope with this latest medal crisis at the World Junior Championships remains to be seen.
Russia goaltender ANDREI VASILEVSKI (30) from Kontinental Hockey League club Salavat Yulayev Ufa, the 19-year-old native of Tyumen who was the first round pick (# 19 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, makes a pad save to deny Canada forward ANTHONY MANTHA (28) from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Val-d’Or Foreurs, the first round choice (# 20 overall) of the Detroit Red Wings at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, during the Bronze Medal Match of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships at the Malmo Arena in Scandinavia.
January 5, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Bronze Medal Match
Malmo Arena – Attendance : 10,713
RUSSIA 2 – CANADA 1
03:35 … RUS – Grigorenko (unassisted) – ppg
14:38 … RUS – Gimatov (Mironov)
47:10 … CAN – Morrissey (Hudon, Pelech)
shots-on-goal : RUS 32 (14 + 8 + 10) – CAN 31 (13 + 7 + 11)
penalty minutes : RUS 10 – CAN 10
referees : Bjork (Swe) and Mayer (USA)
CANADA : Fucale – Ekblad, Pouliot ; G. Reinhart, Dumba ; Pelech, Morrissey ; Bigras – Hudon, Drouin, Mantha ; Laughton, Horvat, S. Reinhart ; Lazar, Petan, McDavid ; Rychel, Gauthier, Anderson ; Leier
RUSSIA : Vasilevski – Mironov, Zadorov ; Lyubushkin, Tryamkin ; Bereglazov, Maslov ; Vasiliev – Slepyshev, Grigorenko, Buchnevich ; Zhafyanov, Osnovin, Barabanov ; Barbashev, Yakimov, Khlopotov ; Zykov, Buratov, Gimatov ; Skladnichenko