Team Canada lost the gold medal game to Team USA
The World Junior Championship (WJC) is always one of hockey fans’ favourite times of the year, especially for Canadians, as we normally have a great chance of winning gold.
This year, Team Canada competed with a roster of 22 talented players, 20 of whom were selected in the first round of the National Hockey League (NHL) Draft.
Hockey analysts had high expectations for the team. In other words, many people had already given the gold medal to Team Canada before the first game of the tournament was even played.
Led by Head Coach André Tourigny, Team Canada started the competition with a crushing 16-2 win against Germany on Dec. 26. The squad dominated the round robin — where each team of the same group played each other once — winning their four games and finishing first in Group B for the start of the elimination round.
Having scored 33 goals and allowed just four in the same amount of games, Team Canada showed fans that they had nothing to fear entering their quarterfinal game against Czech Republic; and they were right thinking that way.
It almost felt weird seeing Team Canada win so easily in an elimination round game. Yes, it was the Czech Republic, but a 3-0 win meant a second shutout, and also another game where our country didn’t seem to have trouble getting past its opponent. Moreover, it was the fifth straight game where Team Canada didn’t allow an even-strength goal.
Our semifinal game against Russia was anything but a close contest. That game probably confirmed many fans’ thoughts, which was that we could win it all. I’ll admit my own confidence was boosted after beating Russia the way we did. The two countries normally offer great battles, but this time it was totally one-sided, with a 5-0 victory for Team Canada.
Another shutout for Canada and a second consecutive one entering the final game of the tournament was as perfect of a scenario as you could imagine. A great way to present yourself to your last opponent.
Unfortunately, things seemed to stop working for a team that had been almost perfect up until then. Team Canada was the only country that didn’t lose a game in the tournament. However, a great showing from Team USA, added to a normal performance by Tourigny’s team, was all our long-time rivals needed to grab gold with a solid 2-0 victory.
It’s hard to judge this WJC for Team Canada, considering they still won the silver medal, something that isn’t that bad in the end. But for a team full of NHL first-round picks that had high expectations, that second place hurts a little bit.
Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion