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Canada hunts for gold after passing every ‘test’ at world juniors with ease

Last Updated Jan 5, 2021 at 5:16 am PDT

Team Canada celebrates its quarterfinal win over the Czech Republic at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton. (CREDIT: The Canadian Press)

Canada beat Russia 5-0 in the semifinals on Monday at the world juniors

Team Canada will look to defend its world junior title on Tuesday against the United States

EDMONTON – We keep saying it, as the 2021 world junior hockey championship grinds lopsidedly towards its conclusion. “THIS will be a true test for Canada.” And when we smoke Finland by three goals we point to Russia:

“OK, but THIS team will be a true test.”


Canada rolled into the gold-medal game with a decisive shellacking of Team Russia, a nation that is supposed to be able to play with our boys but barely caused them to break a rhetorical sweat. In the end, Mother Russia was outscored 5-0 and outshot 35-28 in one of the more lopsided Canada-Russia games ever to play out at a world juniors — or anywhere, for that matter.

Remember Russian goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at the 2010 Olympics, when he said that Team Canada had come out “like gorillas out of a cage?”

Well, it was 1-0 just 59 seconds into Monday’s semi-final when Alex Newhook rifled a shot home with such speed, no one in the building saw its flight under the crossbar. Video replay was required to confirm the snipe, and the rout was on.

“Canada always has a good team,” said defeated Russian Mikhail Abramov. “I can say we just had a bad start…”

The score was 3-0 after 20 minutes, and with only one contest left to play the Canadians have yet to trail in a game for even a second. Nor has Canada surrendered a five-on-five goal yet in this tournament. They have outscored their opponents 33-0 at even strength, 41-4 overall.

This unbeaten Canadian team, it seems, is as good as any we’ve sent to this tournament — maybe ever. Now, we’ll see if they can finish a perfect 7-0 tournament, with the gold-medal game set for Tuesday night at 9:30 ET against Team USA.

Read the full story on Sportsnet.