They last won the competition in 1995, long before the name had the names of Ivan Hlinka or Wayne Gretzky, but on the strength of goaltender Yaroslav Askarov and sniper Alexander Pashin, they defeated favoured Canada 3-2 in the final game. Pashin scored twice, and had five combined in the last two games. Vasili Ponomaryov also had a huge game for Russia with a goal and an assist.
Penalties: 3:6. PP goals: 1:0. SH goals: 0:0.
Referees: Hejduk, Pražák – Lhotský, Svoboda. Attendance: 834.
The Canadians wanted to get a better start in the final than they did in the semis and, for the most part, they did. They outshot the Russians 14-7 in the first period, but Russia’s big sniper, Alexander Pashin, scored the only goal early on at 3:45.
Vasili Ponomaryov made a nice play to set up the goal, protecting the puck and then feeding the trailer Pashin, who fired a laser that beat the Canadian goalie high to the blocker side.
The rest of the first period mainly consisted of Askarov being under fire. On a Candian rush a couple minutes later he made a nice save off Jake Neighbors, then Jean-Luc Foudy put the rebound just wide. After the Canadians killed off the only penalty of the opening period, they made another push late as Quinton Byfield sent Will Cuylle in alone, and he fired just high. Then Seth Jarvis leaned into a shot in the high slot but hit Askarov in the shoulder.
The Canadians got their first power play of the game early in the second and it didn’t take them long to tie the score. Hendix Lapierre found Connor McClendon in the slot, and he tried to make a move but Askarov kicked out his left pad to make a fine save. However, he was down and out of the play and Byfield had the easy tap-in for the goal.
The Russians regained the lead just six minutes later while the teams were playing 4-on-4. It was a great individual effort by Ponomaryov, who fought off a defender and circled the Canadian net, backhanding it between Garand’s legs.
After giving up the power-play goal, the Russian penalty-killing was a lot more effective the remainder of the game, generally keeping the dangerous Canadians in check, and killing off three straight penalties. On Canada’s fifth power play early in the third period, Perfetti took a shot that seemed labelled for the top corner, but Askarov picked it out of the air with little difficulty.
The Russians were somewhat back on their heels, but as the Canadians began to press, they gave up chances the other way. From behind the net, Pavel Tutnev found Pashin in front, who found room between Garand and the near post for his second goal of the game to give his team a commanding two-goal lead with 11:22 to play.
The Canadians were now in a desperate situation and they got a break with five minutes to go, when Jean-Luc Foudy intercepted a pass in the Russian zone and fired it under the crossbar to bring the defending champs within one.
The last five minutes were mass pandemonium, with the Canadians desperately pushing for the equalizer. The Russians had a couple of chances at the empty net but missed, giving the Canadians temporary reprieves, but in the end they couldn’t put another puck past Askarov and their reign of champions is over.
Michael Dyck (head coach, Canada): “It’s hard. We did a lot of things right today. I thought we played well and I’m very proud of our guys. Their goaltender played a great game; he made a lot of great saves for them. It was a bit similar to yesterday, he was a world-class goaltender too. We pressed yesterday and found a way and I thought we played better today. The boys can learn something from this. They’re gonna move on and play for the national team again. They’re remember this feeling and not want to feel it again. As long as we learn from it, it will be a valuable experience.”
Sergei Golubovich (head coach, Russia): “After a big tournament, you don't always feel anything because you get all the emotions in the game. It was only one goal after all. But we wanted to win and we just did it. I’m not someone who is crowning Canada before every tournament. There was a core group of Canadian players who, at times, dominated the game, but without the hard road trip from Piešťany to Břeclav, I think we would have played better tonight.”