Ostrava, Czech Republic – Ty Dellandrea did it. The Flint Firebirds captain grew up wanting to represent his nation at the prestigious IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship one day. This year, he made it a reality. Dellandrea played a critical role to lead Canada to a Gold Medal in front of a globally televised audience Sunday. He recorded three goals and two assists, including a plus-2 rating in seven games throughout the tournament.
After entering the final frame down a goal Sunday, then surrendering another at the 8:46 mark of the third period, Canada pieced together a storybook comeback in rallying for three goals in under seven minutes to secure a 4-3 victory in the gold medal game at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Capping the heroics for Canada was Niagara IceDogs captain and Los Angeles Kings prospect Akil Thomas who netted his first of the tournament at the 16:02 mark of the third period after breaking in and backhanding it by Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov. The tally came shortly thereafter Canada captain and Soo Greyhounds graduate Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) – who was questionable to dress Sunday – walked in and fired a perfect shot top shelf on the power play to even score. Hayton was later named Player of the Game for the Canadians.
Also scoring for Canada on Sunday was Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabres) as well as London Knights centre Connor McMichael (Washington Capitals), while Hurricanes blue-liner Calen Addison (Pittsburgh Penguins) led all scorers with three assists and netminder Joel Hofer (St. Louis Blues) of the Portland Winterhawks once again impressed with a 35-save performance, helping him earn recognition as the Top Goaltender of the tournament, and the first Canadian netminder to do so since Steve Mason (London Knights/Kitchener Rangers) in 2008. Accolades also went to Rimouski Oceanic captain and 2020 NHL Draft favourite Alexis Lafreniere, who added another two assists and was named the tournament’s Top Forward.
Meanwhile, providing the offense for Russia in the closely battled finale included St. Louis Blues draft pick Nikita Alexandrov of the Charlottetown Islanders, who finished with one goal and Player of the Game honours, while Egor Sokolov (Cape Breton Eagles) and Egor Zamula (Calgary Hitmen/Philadelphia Flyers) each added an assist.
Canada’s victory mark its 18th gold medal finish at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, its first since 2018 as well as the first time since 2008 to win from a European host country when the tournament was last played in the Czech Republic. In all, Canada has medaled 32 times since 1977, a total which also includes nine silver and five bronze.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championships (WJC), commonly known as the ‘World Juniors,’ is an annual event organized by the IIHF for national under-20 teams from around the world. It traditionally features each nation’s best-on-best hockey players aged 19 & 20 in the world. It is held the day after Christmas, ending in the first week of January.
The main tournament features the top-ten ranked hockey nations in the world, comprising the ‘Top Division’, from which a world champion is crowned. Finland is the defending champion of the tournament, after having beaten the United States to win the 2018 edition on January 5th in Vancouver, BC.
Photo Credit: Andrea Cardin/HHOF-IIHF Images
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