They say good things come in threes and if you happened to play on this year’s Russian Junior National Team well tonight’s 5-3 win over Canada to win gold was the perfect end to what has been a monumental tournament. Coming back against Finland to reach the semi-finals, then coming back again to beat Sweden to reach the finals showed the character and spunk these new hero’s had.
Finding themselves down 3-0 entering the third period against the home crowd favorite Canada would leave little room for hope in many, this year’s group? Not even close. Led by Artemi Panarin, Russia scored five unanswered goals to not only complete a modern day “Miracle on Ice” but also retain gold for the junior squad for the first time since 2003.
Panarin opened the scoring two and a half minutes into the final frame beating goalie Mark Visentin from close range, just 11 seconds later Maxim Kitsyn would score from the opposite side to cut the deficit to one. Minutes after that captain Vladimir Tarasenko would square things up on a beautiful set-up from Evgeny Kuznetsov. 3 goals in 4:56.
With under five minutes to play Panarin would get his second of the game while practically wearing a Canadian defender to grab the lead. Four wasn’t enough and instead of dropping back and giving Canada any kind of space Russia poured the pressure on and were rewarded by a breakaway goal by Nikita Dvurechensky who beat Visentin on a backhander to seal the most unprecedented comeback possibly ever in the history of Russian hockey.
As the horn sounded the team mobbed goalie Igor Bobkov who you might recall as Russia’s original goalie at the start of the tournament. It was Bobkov who was benched after losing to Canada in the opening round but would complete a personal comeback stopping all 20 shots he faced in relief of Dmitri Shikin who was pulled midway through the second.
The jubilant faces of the future of Russian hockey would then mob Tarasenko when he received the World Championship Trophy and later join together to sing the national anthem. The pure joy seen in the faces of the country’s newest sports heroes truly embodies the spirit of a nation which felt bitter disappointment in 2010 at Vancouver with this win however pride has been restored to the place we here call home as the future of Russian hockey seems in very good hands.
Below are highlights from the entire game including the trophy presentation and the singing of the anthem. Enjoy.