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Canada collapses in final

A Russian team with a flair for drama took advantage of a devastating Canadian collapse and claimed the gold medal at the world junior hockey championship.
Artemi Panarin Denis Golubev
Team Russia's Artemi Panarin

Russia 5 Canada 3

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Russian team with a flair for drama took advantage of a devastating Canadian collapse and claimed the gold medal at the world junior hockey championship.

Trailing 3-0 going into the third period, Russia scored five times in the final 20 minutes in a 5-3 win over Canada that doused the energy of a full house of Maple Leaf-clad fans at HSBC Arena on Wednesday night.

Artemi Panarin, Maxim Kitsyn and Vladimir Tarasenko struck quickly in the opening 7:29 of the period, then Panarin scored the game-winner with 4:38 left to play.

The quick goals from a highly skilled Russian squad evoked images of their late comeback wins over Finland and Sweden in their two previous games. They did it again when the gifted Tarasenko stole and puck behind the Canadian net and fed Panarin for the tournament-winning goal.

Nikita Dvurechenski ended any hope of a Canadian comeback when he beat Mark Visentin with a backhander at 18:44.

Scoring sensation Brayden Schenn, named most valuable player of the tournament, had a goal and set up another to pass Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros and tie the team record for points in one world junior of 18 set in 1977 by Dale McCourt.

Ryan Ellis and Carter Ashton scored in the first period for Canada, who looked to have the game safely in the bag until their monumental collapse in the third.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Russians leapt from their bench and sprawled over each other on the ice as dejected Canadians skated to the boards with their heads down.

Russia won gold for the first time since their back-to-back wins in 2002 and 2003 and for the fifth time overall.

It was a Canadian team short on star power but high on energy and hard work, who had signed a contract posted on their dressing room wall buying into the team concept.

It got them within a period of claiming a sixth gold medal in seven years.

HSBC Arena was blanketed almost exclusively in red and white as Canadian fans who took over Buffalo for the 12-day event screamed, chanted and sang even as their team went down to defeat.

Canada got the early goal it wanted when Georgi Berdyukov was sent off for hooking and Ellis one-timed Schenn’s cross-ice pass into an open side 4:50 into the game.

Only 14 seconds remained in the period when Ashton came out from behind the net and fit the puck through a tiny opening over Dmitri Shikin’s shoulder for a 2-0 lead.

The Russians came out skating hard to start the second period, but were thwarted by Vistentin while Schenn extended Canada’s lead when he one-timed a Marcus Foligno pass in at 6:27.

That prompted coach Valeri Bragin to give Shikin the hook after three goals on 18 shots in favour of Igor Bobkov, who was solid the rest of the way as Canada outshot the Russians 38-27 overall.

Panarin trailed in to wrist a shot past Visentin 2:33 into the third and the crowd was still buzzing when Kitsyn’s shot dribbled between the goaltender’s pads at 2:46.

Tarasenko, who left the game for repairs after he fell into Marcus Foligno’s skate late in the second, one-timed a feed from Yevgeni Kuznetsov to tie the game at 7:29.

Canada is 10-7-1 against Russia since it formed its own team after the fall of the Soviet Union.