Russia @ Canada
It comes down to this, one game for all the marbles. Canada and Russia have been the best rivalry in the past decade in my opinion. Since the tournament changed to this head to head format, Canada and Russia have played each other 8 times in the gold medal game. Both teams taking 4 victories, this is the ultimate rubber match.
Russia chose to go with Miftakhov in net as once again, the Russian goaltender carousel continues. Askarov will be benched after getting pulled in the semi-finals against Sweden. It’s just not the 17-year olds moment yet, he’ll get that moment next year more than likely. Joel Hofer has been the best goaltender in the tournament, by far. He comes into the gold medal game with a .945SV%.
A lot of back in forth in the first period, with the Russians getting 4 powerplays, leading them to have a shot clock advantage after 20. They would finish the period with 10 shots, while only holding the Canadians to 7. There was a lot of complaints about the reffing in this game, however, all the calls made in the first period were pretty blatant international hockey calls.
Russia would take control of the second period, drawing yet another powerplay due to a Canadian stick infraction. They would make the Canadians pay, finally. Nikita Alexandrov tips home a Yegor Zamula point shot and gives the Russians a 1-0 lead halfway through the second period.
And halfway through the second period, we have our first goal of the game. Nikita Alexandrov 🇷🇺 tips this one in on the power-play. https://t.co/yT2VoyTwFf
Just when it looked like the refs were against the Canadians. Canada would be gifted a full 2-minute 5-on-3 powerplay, roughly 20 seconds in Dylan Cozens would tap it home, tying the game up at 1. Miftakhov looked irate after the goal, feeling like he got interfered with. Unfortunately, the player that hit him, was his teammate.
A pair of penalties called against Russia in quick succession, and Canada is suddenly on the two-man advantage! https://t.co/m5TqAW4Gw3
Russia would kill off the remaining 5-on-4 powerplay after the goal and gain some momentum off that kill. Just as he has done all tournament long. Denisenko comes up big for the Russians when needed. Cleaning up the rebound and sliding it past Joel Hofer. Russia would take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. They would start the third period on the penalty kill due to a Zamula penalty after the horn.
Grigori Denisenko 🇷🇺 cleans up the rebound off Joel Hofer and Russia retakes the lead. https://t.co/e3l8cMtr9u
Russia would kill off the penalty while both teams would play exciting hockey back and forth for the first half of the third period. Russia strikes first in the third period, giving themselves a 2-goal lead with 11 minutes left and looked well on their way to gold thanks to Maxim Sorkim’s first goal of the tournament.
Maxim Sorkin 🇷🇺 extends the lead to two goals! https://t.co/F4UU67t8mN
Here’s where the wheels fell off the wagon for the Russians. 2 goal lead, 11 minutes left. Seems like a routine ending to a game, right? Canada comes storming back thanks to Washington Capitals draft pick Connor McMichael, who after review, would bring the Canadians within one.
Goal stands after review, and Connor McMichael has 🇨🇦 back within one! https://t.co/ymfajEtGtH
If you’re trying to protect a lead in a gold medal game. The best way to do that is stay out of the penalty box. Russia didn’t get that memo and the Canadians made them pay. Despite being injured in the semi-finals and barely being able to lift his arm. Barrett Hayton would come through for the Canadians ripping one top shelf on the powerplay.
THE CAPTAIN COMES THROUGH! Barrett Hayton ties it for 🇨🇦! https://t.co/xuM8cfReEX
All the momentum on their side and with the Russians reeling. The Canadians would put a nail in the coffin and take the lead. Akil Thomas, despite having only 4 minutes of ice time coming into the third period. Finds the back of the net, giving Canada an unlikely go-ahead goal with just under 4 minutes remaining.
AKIL THOMAS. GO-AHEAD GOAL. HOW??? 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 https://t.co/qT1eq2Oxw3
Canada would hold on, getting some help from the refs. On the penalty kill with less than two minutes left. Canada would clear the puck over the glass, however, it would hit the center ice camera and be determined a non-penalty. The camera was over the glass, it just doesn’t make sense.
Canada holds on and wins the gold medal, sending the Russians home with silver yet again. Russia has nobody to blame but themselves, this is a game they should have won. They outplayed Canada for a majority of the game, had a two goal lead and let it slip.
Powerplay and Shots
1/6 PP2/8 PP
38 shots30 shots
Players of the Game
(I missed this on the broadcast, so will give my personal players of the game)
– Grigori Denisenko
– Joel Hofer
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Photo Credit: Russiahockey/Twitter