Canada overwhelmed Russia, 6-1, and Team USA earned its second bronze in the last three years Sunday in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.
Canada’s fourth line scored its first two goals in a resounding victory. Tyler Ennis of the Buffalo Sabres had a goal and an assist in the victory.
The champions outshot the Russians, 37-12.
Jack Eichel assisted on the second goal of Team USA’s 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic.
Canada got its first two goals from the fourth line and skated to a near flawless gold medal win, crushing Russia to finish with a 10-0 record.
“You expect to come here and have tight games,” said Canadian captain Sidney Crosby. “You look at the semi-final: 2-0. It could have gone either way. Today, we just played a great game. We buried our chances. Our depth really showed. We had a lot of forwards who could contribute, but our defense was able to add to the offense. Our goaltending was really solid. All the way through, a great team effort.
“We got better as the tournament went on, and we saved our best for last here today.”
It was Canada’s first gold since 2007. By going undefeated and winning every game in regulation, the Canadians went home with an extra one million in Swiss francs, courtesy of a promotion by InFront.
Canada’s perfect record included 66 goals scored and giving up but 15. Six of the top ten scorers were Canadian, including leader Jason Spezza with 14 points, Jordan Eberle with 13, and Taylor Hall with 12.
Ennis fired a shot that went in off Cody Eakin to open the scoring in the first period. Canada blew it open with three goals in the second period, including a wrap-around by Ennis at 1:56.
Crosby and Tyler Seguin (power play) scored before the period was over. Claude Giroux scored on the power play in the third and Nathan MacKinnon tallied the final goal before Evgeni Malkin spoiled Mike Smith’s shutout.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck was the hero of Team USA’s win over the Czechs. He made 39 saves to only 13 for Ondrej Pavelec for the Czechs.
“Connor’s our best player night in, night out,” said Team USA forward Trevor Lewis. “He was there to stop pucks for us, and clear rebounds. We knew if we had a breakdown he was going to be there, he was a calming presence for us. I can’t say enough about him.”
Lewis scored the second U.S. goal in the opening period with an assist from Eichel, the 18-year-old NHL prospect from Boston University who seems destined to be the Sabres’ first pick in next month’s NHL Draft. Nick Bonino and Charlie Coyle each had a goal and an assist for the Americans.
Eichel set up the crucial second goal, sending a pass through three defenders to Lewis in front of the goal.
Eichel was on the ice for 13 minutes, 2 seconds and had two shots on net.
Hellebuyck was at his best when the Americans were killing off a 4-minute high-sticking penalty against Bonino late in the second period. Bonino drew blood when he struck Petr Koukal of the Czechs with an errant stick. Two of the saves during the penalty kill were against Vladimir Sobotka.