TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada held on to claim a nail-biting 5-4 win over Russia in the final of the ice hockey junior world championships on Monday to end a five-year wait for a gold medal.
It was Canada’s 16th gold but first since 2009 and it did not come easy.
Russia left a capacity Air Canada Centre crowd, which included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer.
Leading 5-1 late in the second period, Canada nearly let the victory slip away as Russia scored three quick goals to slash the deficit to one goal.
But the Russians could not complete the comeback as Canadian netminder Zach Fucale shut out the visitors in the final period.
Canada scored 23 seconds after the opening faceoff on a goal from Anthony Duclair. Nick Paul put Canada 2-1 up before Dmitri Yudin pulled one back for Russia before the end of the opening period.
Canada looked ready to pull away in the second, going 5-1 up on goals from Max Domi, Sam Reinhart and Connor McDavid, the most talked about player since Sidney Crosby and widely expected to be the number one pick in this year’s NHL draft.
But the Russians would answer back with three quick tallies late in the period, Ivan Barbashev and Sergei Tolchinski scoring 32 seconds apart and Nikolai Goldobin adding another.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford