IIHF Worlds: Avalanche Players Win Gold


Today was the last day of the IIHF Worlds Championships with the four remaining teams playing for medals. Colorado Avalanche players were active in both matches, representing on three of the four teams.

The IIHF World Championship games have been played in the Czech Republic, with the Finals and medal games taking place in Prague.

Bronze Medal — Team USA Wins

Two Avalanche players, former linemates, competed against each other in this game. Jan Hejda  represented his native Czech Republic, while Zach Redmond played for the US team. After Erik Johnson’s arthroscopic knee surgery, Redmond became Hejda’s partner on the top defensive pairing.

Unfortunately, this was not an exciting game, especially for the thousands of Czech fans in the stands. Remember at the Olympics last year when the US was so disappointed at not playing for gold most of them didn’t show up to the Bronze Medal game? That seemed to be the Czechs this year.

To be fair, they got lots of shots on net (39), but not too many of them were quality scoring chances. They also failed to capitalize on power plays, including almost six minutes of power play time in the second period. They just looked flat. In the end, as happy as I was to see Zach Redmond and Team USA win medals, I was sad for the Czechs and superstar Jaromir Jagr.

Defenseman Jan Hejda played all 10 games. He earned two assists and two penalty minutes. He was +1 for the tourney. Thanks to Avs European Fan Club for providing some great pics on Twitter, including the following of Hejda in action (both against the US and Canada:

A little Av-on-Av action:

Defenseman Zach Redmond played 5 games. He earned one assist and two penalty minutes. He was +3 for the tourney. Here’s Redmond in action against the Czechs:

Gold Medal — Team Canada Wins

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The Canadians were not well-tested in this year’s IIHF Worlds. Not every game they played was a blowout, but they dominated every game.

As imagined, one of the strongest challenges for Team Canada was Team Russia. The game showed a lot of back and forth action on the wide open ice. The Russians through the first period looked like they were going to give the Canadians a run for their money. However, Canadian forward Cody Eakin (Dallas Stars) drew first blood. Canada went into the first intermission 1-0.

For a few minutes it looked as if the game was going to turn defensive and slow, like the game against the Czechs did. However, suddenly the play opened up wide, and the Canadians started making the Russians looking foolish. In the span of just over six minutes Canada scored three times for a 4-0 lead. Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie earned an assist on Dallas Star Tyler Seguin’s goal. He ended up with a goal and six assists in the tournament.

The Canadians kept at it, and Avalanche players got more involved as well. First, center Ryan O’Reilly earned an assist on goal #5, scored by Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. O’Reilly finished the tournament with two goals and 10 assists.

And then our own center Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal. It was his fourth goal of IIHF Worlds, giving him his ninth point of the tourney.

Though Matt Duchene didn’t earn a point in the gold medal game, he finished second in scoring for the whole tournament with 12 points.

With this gold medal, Canada now holds gold in the World Juniors, IIHF Worlds and the Olympics.

Next: Importance of Having a Stellar Goalie

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