Team Canada wins OT thriller for Gold at World Junior Championship

world junior championship
Aug 20, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Team Canada forward Mason McTavish (23) celebrates with the World Junior Championship trophy after winning the championship game during the IIHF U20 Ice Hockey World Championship at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Team Canada sits atop the hockey world after a thrilling 3-2 OT win over Finland at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton on Saturday night.

Call it a little payback for the 4-3 OT victory by Finland over Canada at the World Championship held in Finland this past May.

Canada jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Finland clawed back to tie it and take it OT. That set up one of the most dramatic extra sessions in recent memory.

For this tournament, the IIHF went to a 3 on 3 OT to decide the game and the tempo was breathtaking. At times, the events that filled the extra session were almost theatrical. The MVP of the tournament, Mason McTavish literally knocked a puck out of mid-air at the goal line before Kent Johnson scored to give Canada the Gold.

“I tried to go five-hole but there was way more room than that, and then I banged home the rebound,” Johnson said. “Going 3 on 3 in overtime, there’s just so much space out there and you’re not dumping the puck or really grinding for it as much, it’s just all skill and IQ, so it’s good.”

Johnson, 19, picked up 3 assists in 9 games last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him fifth-overall in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Team Canada wins Gold, Mason McTavish the hero

world junior championship team canada
Aug 20, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Team Canada celebrates beating Team Finland in overtime to win the gold medal in the championship game during the IIHF U20 Ice Hockey World Championship at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Mason McTavish was selected third overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2021 Draft. Last season, he played in only 9 NHL games picking up 3 points. However, he showed a flare for dramatics by scoring a goal and an assist in his debut against the Winnipeg Jets.

Canada’s captain and tournament MVP may not have scored the winner, but his game-saving play made him the hero.

“It was pretty crazy,” McTavish exclaimed. “My stick was in the right place at the right time. I don’t even know why I was behind our goalie. I’m just thinking about it now. But next thing I went to the bench and KJ was on a breakaway. It was an exciting couple of minutes and so happy to be on the right side of it.”

Dylan Garand, who stopped 29 of 31 shots for Canada in the winning effort was beside himself describing the play.

“The puck went up and over me,” Garand recalled. “Then I look back and Mac just pulled if off the line then we go down and score. Oh my God! What a feeling!”

The New York Rangers fourth-round pick of the 2020 Draft finished the tournament with perfect 6-0 record to go along with a 1.98 GAA and a .925 SV%.

Team Sweden beat Czechia 3-1 earlier in the day to take home the Bronze. Team USA was upset in the Quarter-Finals by Czechia after going 4-0 in preliminary action.