Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Updated: January 6, 5:41 PM ET
Canada wins first title in 8 years
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Favored Canada erased eight years of frustration by rolling to a 6-1 win over Russia on Tuesday in the gold-medal game of the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Jeff Carter and Ryan Getzlaf had three points apiece for Canada, which won its 11th title and its first crown since 1997. The United States upset the Canadians in last year's final.
"They played amazing and deserved to win the gold medal," said Russia coach Sergei Gersonskiy.
Six different players notched goals for Canada, a veteran team that displayed balanced scoring throughout the event. Forward Patrice Bergeron, named the tournament's outstanding player, had a goal and an assist.
"It's been the experience of my life," said Bergeron, an NHL player.
It was the most lopsided championship game in the tournament since it began a bracket format in 1996. Previous champions were awarded on overall records from round-robin play.
Canada outscored opponents 41-7 in six games.
"They are the best team," said Russian star Alexander Ovechkin, who hurt his shoulder in the second period and didn't return.
Canada blew the championship open with four unanswered goals in the second period to take a 6-1 lead. It started when Carter's routine shot from the right circle fooled goalie Anton Khudobin, making it 3-1 at the 3:33 mark and sending Khudobin to the bench.
"That third goal got us on a roll," said Canada coach Brent Sutter.
The Canadians scored three more times on relief goalie Andrei Kuznetsov, including goals by Bergeron and Anthony Stewart within 61 seconds for a 5-1 lead. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf ended the barrage with a power-play goal at 13:19.
"He's a great player who brings everything to the table," Sutter said of Phaneuf, named the tournament's outstanding defenseman. "He's going to be a great pro."
Canada outshot Russia 15-2 in the second period and 32-19 for the game.
A pro-Canada crowd dressed in red and white chanted and waved flags throughout the evening. The Canadians had the highest average attendance of any team in the tournament. The championship game drew a capacity crowd of 11,862.
"To have that much fan support when you're not at home is unbelievable," Getzlaf said. "A lot of people paid a lot of money to come and support our team."
Grand Forks is located about 75 miles from the Manitoba border and about 150 miles from Winnipeg, a city of 750,000 people.