Canada's blunder gives Americans first junior title

Updated: December 28, 2004, 4:09 PM ET
Associated Press

HELSINKI, Finland -- The United States won its first world junior hockey title Monday, beating Canada 4-3 after Canadian goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's failed clearing pass ended up in his own goal.

Fleury's pass bounced off teammate Braydon Coburn and into the Canadian goal with 5:12 left, capping a three-goal rally by the Americans. Patrick O'Sullivan was credited with the winning goal.

This rates right up there with the Miracle On Ice.
Zach Parise, tournament MVP

"This rates right up there with the Miracle On Ice," said tournament MVP Zach Parise, referring to the 1980 Winter Olympics when the Americans won the gold medal.

The freak goal capped a three-goal, third-period rally against the 19-year-old Fleury, who was the MVP of the 2003 tournament and the first overall pick in the NHL draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"You can say there were a couple of lucky goals, but good things happen when you work hard. You make your own luck," United States coach Mike Eaves said.

Canada led 3-1 on two goals from Nigel Dawes and one from Anthony Stewart. But the Americans scored twice in four minutes early in the third period on goals by O'Sullivan and Ryan Kesler. Then came Fleury's blunder, with O'Sullivan getting credit for his second goal of the game.

Canada also lost in the final last year, falling to Russia.

The United States, 7-0 in the tournament, dominated play early getting a goal by Dan Fritsche but Canada rallied in the second period with two goals by Dawes. Stewart had two assists before beating United States goalie Alvaro Montoya for the 3-1 lead.

Finland won the bronze medal, defeating the Czech Republic 2-1.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press