The IIHF World Juniors Championships came to a close last night in Canada during the Gold Medal Game between Team Sweden and Team Russia. Sweden edged Russia in the final game, so for the first time in over thirty years Sweden took the gold medal.
Both teams were strong in their previous contests, so this game became the showdown between the two strongest teams in the championships. The sixty minutes of play that occurred was proof that this was true, as neither team was able to score in regulation time. It was due to both teams high level of defensive play and good goaltending that no goals were scored until the overtime period.
Sweden’s Mika Zibanejad became the star of the game when he scored the lone overtime goal in a backhand shot in a one on one breakaway against Russian Goaltender Andrei Makarov. Zibanejad is no stranger to hockey as he was the Ottawa Senator’s 1st draft pick in the NHL’s most recent draft this past summer. But now the young player will become a national hero in Sweden for bringing this title back to them after so many years of struggling to make it out on top.
The Russian Team have beaten Sweden for the Gold Medal on three separate occasions, so in this game The Swedes were out for blood. They outshot Team Russia by 58-17 shots on goal, indicating how strong Sweden’s forechecking in this game was. In the overtime period alone Team Sweden had 8 shots on goal compared to Team Russia’s lone change. Team Sweden was not going to let this Gold Medal slip through their fingers this year.