In game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series, Canada beat the Russians by a score of 6-5.
In the 1987 Canada Cup, Canada won a best of three series against the Russians, with all games ending by a score of 6-5.
In another classic matchup on Saturday night, Canada somehow found a way to beat the Russians 6-5 in a shootout to advance to gold medal game of the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa.
While a classic, the game was also a nail biter, and at times quite poorly played. It would be quite accurate to suggest Canada narrowly escaped the Russian Bear.
Their defense, in particular team captain Thomas Hickey and high draft pick Alex Pietrangelo, looked down right brutal at times. They continued to make poor defensive zone lapses and unnecessary chances.
They were bailed out by their goalie, Dustin Tokarski, and their offense. That being said the offense was sputtering against the Russians, which seems funny to say given they scored 6 times. John Tavares was quiet until the shootout. And the normally lethal power play failed to bury the Russians when they had the chance. The Russians spent much of the second period killing penalties.
The Russians were absolutely resilient in this game, time and time again coming from behind to tie up the game. They took over the third period, and with less than five minutes left in the third period took the 5-4 lead.
Then came the so called "TSN Turning Point." The Russians iced the puck, allowing Canada one last faceoff in the Russian zone. With 5.4 seconds left in the game, Jordan Eberle, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, scored a miraculous goal to force over time
A few years back I wrote a book called "Legends of Team Canada" where I looked at the greatest players and moments in Team Canada history. I included John Slaney's famous WJC goal from 1991. No doubt Eberle's goal will make it in any book sequel.
Canada had the edge in the overtime, but this game would go to a shootout. Eberle scored again, as did John Tavares, while Dustin Tokarski came up big with two saves to give Canada the thrilling victory.
Canada now will play Sweden in the gold medal game on Monday at 7 pm EST. Canada will be in their 8th consecutive WJC gold medal game. They have won the last four in a row.
Despite Canada's past success, Sweden entered this tournament as at least a co-favourite, along with Canada, for the gold medal. They have looked very much as billed, and will be a most formidable opponent. Canada will definitely have to pick up their game if they ae going to capture a record tying fifth consecutive World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal.
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