In a gold medal game that featured one of Canada’s best-ever rosters at the international tournament, they were defeated on Saturday in Breclav as Russia claimed the title and took home the gold.
It was Canada’s first loss of the tournament after winning the first three games in the group stages in regulation. Canada was dominant in the group stages as they finished with the tournament-high nine points in three games. Russia was just behind Canada for second place with eight points in three games.
After training for a week in Calgary, Hockey Canada became the betted favourite to win the gold medal going into the tournament. Their roster only featured one player who is not apart of the 2020 NHL draft class in goaltender Tristian Lennox.
Throughout the first eight periods of play for Hockey Canada throughout the tournament, nobody could get the puck past Lennox or backup goaltender Dylan Garand. It took nine periods of hockey to end Canada’s shutout streak when the Czech Republic scored in the third period of play in the last game of the group stages.
Many Canadian players improved their draft stock significantly with their excellent performances at the tournament. Cole Perfetti was not only Canada’s leader in points, but he also led the tournament with 12 points in just five games. His 12 points and 2.40 PPG% is the tournament’s highest in history beating out big names such as Nathan MacKinnon, Teuvo Teräväinen, Mikko Rantanen, Sebastian Aho, Jonathan Toews, Brock Boeser, William Nylander, Nico Hischier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mitch Marner, Matthew Barzal, Evgeni Dadonov and so many more. Perfetti’s eight goals were not only the tournament lead, but were the highest goal total in the tournament by a single player in history.
Hendrix Lapierre finished with 11 points in five games which was good enough for second in tournament scoring. Lapierre was all over the ice, setting up plays and creating high danger scoring chances for his team.
In the gold medal game, Canada looked to build off of their shootout victory against Team Sweden the previous day, but ultimately fell short of gold as Alexandr Pashin and Yaroslav Askarov led the way.
After falling in the gold medal game, Jamie Drysdale spoke with The Canadian Press where he said in a statement with regards to the booming success that Team Canada experienced, “The first three games here were big-time highs for our team and we were able to build a lot of chemistry. We played some tough opponents in the medal round and really had to dig deep. The semifinal was obviously a big test for us, but we came out today and gave everything we had in the final game. Unfortunately, it just did not go our way.”
Canada outshot Russia 37-13, however, they just could not get enough pucks passed Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov. Askarov made multiple highlight-reel saves in the dying moments of the game to secure the victory and defeat the Canadians. It was a wild finish in the final four minutes of play with Canada pulling their goaltender in the last few minutes, but it was Askarov who truly played difference maker, able to save the Russians tournament and avoid an overtime berth.