Canada: 6 W - 0 T - 0 L, Gold Medal
With just one returning player from the powerhouse that was the 2005 champions, Brent Sutter's 2006 junior squad was not the favourite to win gold in Vancouver.
A lot of pundits pegged the Americans and Russians to come out on top, and rightfully so. The U.S. featured older and more seasoned talents like Rob Schremp, Jack Johnson, and World Junior sophomore Phil Kessel. Evgeni Malkin - the best hockey player in the world not playing in the NHL - led a great Russian squad as well.
But in the end, it was good old-fashioned team work and elbow grease that won it all.
The players bought into Sutter's demand for relentless defence from the start of the world junior hockey tournament, and it all paid off in a 5-0 victory over Russia that earned Canada its second consecutive championship.
Calgary Hitmen netminder Justin Pogge led the way in net, with three shutouts in six games. Steve Downie became a core character player for the squad, sparking Canada at the right moments keep them competitive.
Sutter's squad also played the physical game to a tee, with forward Michael Blunden establishing Canada's presence with big, bruising hits and Sudbury defenceman Marc Staal assigned to cover the top snipers on each opposing team.
Canada finished with just one player in the Top 10 in scoring, as the goals were spread out among offensive sparkplugs like Blake Comeau, Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Boyd and Kyle Chipchura.
The tournament did not end well for the United States. Even with nine first-round NHL draft picks in the lineup, they failed to win even a bronze medal after a 4-2 loss to Finland.
Playing in Canada wasn't much of a picnic either, as the B.C. faithful booed and jeered the red, white and blue every minute they played on the ice.
If there is one redeeming factor for the U.S., they would have 11 returning players for the 2007 tournament in Sweden.
|Gold - Canada 5, Russia 0|
|Bronze - Finland 4, United States 2|
Team Canada Roster (GP - G - A - Pts)
Blake Comeau (6 - 3 - 4 - 7)
Dustin Boyd (6 - 4 - 2 - 6)
Cam Barker (6 - 2 - 4 - 6)
Steve Downie (6 - 2 - 4 - 6)
Luc Bourdon (6 - 1 - 5 - 6)
Kyle Chipchura (6 - 4 - 1 - 5)
David Bolland (6 - 3 - 2 - 5)
Michael Blunden (6 - 2 - 3 - 5)
Andrew Cogliano (6 - 1 - 4 - 5)
Benoit Pouliot (6 - 0 - 5 - 5)
Kris Russell (6 - 1 - 3 - 4)
Kris Letang (6 - 1 - 2 - 3)
Ryan O'Marra (6 - 0 - 2 - 2)
Jonathan Toews (6 - 0 - 2 - 2)
Tom Pyatt (6 - 1 - 0 - 1)
Marc Staal (6 - 0 - 1 - 1)
Ryan Parent (6 - 0 - 0 - 0)
Guillaume Latendresse (6 - 0 - 0 - 0)
Dan Bertram (6 - 0 - 0 - 0)
Sasha Pokulok (6 - 0 - 0 - 0)
Team Canada Goaltending (W-L-T - GAA - SO)
Justin Pogge (6-0-0 - 1.00 - 3)
Devan Dubnyk (DNP)
|G - Tuukka Rask (FIN)||F - Lauri Tukonen (FIN)|
|D - Jack Johnson (USA)||F - Steve Downie (CAN)|
|D - Luc Bourdon (CAN)||F - Evgeni Malkin (RUS)|
|Phil Kessel (USA)||7||1||10||11|
|Evgeni Malkin (RUS)||6||4||6||10|
|Lauri Tukonen (FIN)||7||3||7||10|
|Stanislav Lascek (SVK)||6||6||3||9|
|Chris Bourque (USA)||7||7||1||8|