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CANADA WINS GOLD AT 2020 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

CANADA WINS GOLD AT 2020 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

CANADA WINS GOLD AT 2020 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Canada’s National Junior Team has won its 18th gold medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship with a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Russia in the gold medal game Sunday.

Akil Thomas (Toronto, Ont./Niagara, OHL) scored the game-winning goal with 3:58 to go, the third of three Canadian goals in the final 11 minutes that put Canada atop the podium for the third time in the last six years.

Connor McMichael (Ajax, Ont./London, OHL) and Barrett Hayton (Peterborough, Ont./Arizona, NHL) also scored in the third period, while Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL) got the first Canadian goal on a second-period power play.

McMichael finished with a goal and an assist, Calen Addison (Brandon, Man./Lethbridge, WHL) added three helpers and Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) had two assists to help Canada avenge its lone loss of the tournament.

Joel Hofer (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) capped a terrific tournament with 35 saves in the Canadian goal.

“I am so happy for this team,” said Thomas. “The guys worked so hard through the whole process. The guys battled tonight, and we found a way to get it done. This might be the happiest day of my life.”

Following the tournament, Lafrenière was named Most Valuable Player and Top Forward, Hofer earned Top Goaltender honours and both joined Hayton on the Media All-Star Team.

“I am so proud of this group. The resiliency they showed throughout the tournament is a tribute to the quality young men they are,” said head coach Dale Hunter (Petrolia, Ont./London, OHL). “This group dealt with everything from injuries to illness to penalties, and they found a way. They bought into the system and gave everything they had for the team. We had a tremendous coaching staff and I was very proud to be a part of it.”

Canada finished the preliminary round atop the Group B standings with a 3-0-0-1 record after posting wins over the United States (6-4), Germany (4-1) and the Czech Republic (7-2), and dropping a 6-0 decision to Russia. The Canadians earned the chance to play for gold after defeating Slovakia (6-1) in the quarter-finals and blanking Finland (5-0) in the semifinals.

All-time at the IIHF World Junior Championship, Canada has now won 18 gold medals (1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2020), 11 silver (1975, 1976, 1977, 1986, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 20010, 2011, 2017) and six bronze (1974, 1978, 1983, 2000, 2001, 2012).

Canada will defend its gold medal on home ice when the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship comes to Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., this December.

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