The gold medal game for the 2020 World Junior Championship has come to an end with the Canadian’s taking victory over the Russians. It was the unexpected players for Team Canada proved to be its greatest asset as it allowed for the team to win the championship medal with a 4 – 3 victory. It marks the 18th time that the Canadian Juniors National Team has won the gold medal. It was also a significant moment for the young Canadians, who were allowed to sing the national anthem and raise their flag in front of thousands of Europeans.
This victory was prompted by notable players like Akil Thomas, who did it for the hundreds of Canadians that travelled from their homeland to Europe. These loyal fans went to the Ostrava Arena, where they quickly thought all was lost after the first period. Their national team missed four opportunities, with the leading players becoming overrun with strategic changes. It was Akil Thomas that stood back, waiting for the moment to pounce. It resulted in the second and third period being an entirely different game, with the Canadians coming out on top.
The significant achievements maintained by Akil Thomas is a testament to the short playing time he experienced throughout this championship game. He played less than four minutes, with the third period marking his most significant plays. Akil entered the Russian Zone and acquired a free puck, then he avoided clashes with defencemen and the goalie. This allowed Akil to perform a backhand slapshot, which entered without any delays and prompted the leading score.
This Toronto native wasn’t used to his full capacity this tournament, spending a substantial amount of time on the bench over the ice. However, Akil displayed that one moment of opportunity can alter the course of a championship game. Considering that this was his first goal in the tournament, which lead to the gold medal in the final moments of the third period, Akil will be a desired asset going forward.
The Third Period
The third period was full of excitement and drama, with numerous saves from both the Canadian and Russian goalies. Opposing players prompted various penalties, with the Canadian Defencemen saving two significant shots that would’ve overturned the lead. Those defencemen include Dylan Cozens and Jaren MacIsaac. However, this could’ve all been stopped if Aidan Dundas received a late-game penalty from referees. This marks the first time in five years that the Canadians have defeated the Russians in the World Juniors, with their last win taking place in Toronto.