This year’s iteration of the IIHF World Junior Championship featured three Capitals prospects and numerous wow moments on the way to the United States clawing their way to the gold medal on Thursday in Montreal. This years tournament will be remembered as having one of the best medal rounds in tournament history with three of the four games going to overtime and all four of the “big four” teams involved. Let’s look at the best moments for all those involved in this year’s tournament.
Caps 2015 first-round pick Ilya Samsonov had a great tournament. The Russian goaltender recorded two shutouts, backstopped his team to a bronze medal, and was named the best goalie in the tournament by the media.
The Capitals two Swiss prospects had good tournaments as well. Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler was named to Craig Button’s all-group stage team.
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 2, 2017
Other prospect experts raved about him as well.
"Siegenthaler was a monster in this tournament, he certainly raised his stock in his organization." Dave Starman @DStarmanHockey
— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) January 3, 2017
ESPN’s Corey Pronman had Samsonov and Siegenthaler on his standout list and Damien Riat as one of his surprises. Damien Riat is certainly coming along as a prospect. He recorded a goal and six assists in the five games the Swiss played in the tournament.
Siegenthaler and Riat each had a big game one for Switzerland in their win over Czech Republic. While Riat’s production waned thereafter against tougher competition, Siegenthaler seemed to thrive against the toughest of competition.
The United States went undefeated in the tournament capturing their fourth gold medal and third since 2010. Their group stage was highlighted by wins in their final two games over Russia and Canada on New Year’s Eve (be ready for the New Year’s Eve matchup next year, outdoors in Buffalo).
They were able to slip by the Swiss in the quarterfinals, which setup a rematch with Russia in the semis. The game would go to overtime – ten minutes (!) of 4-on-4 overtime in the medal round of the World Juniors. It was back and forth with no victor named. The game then went to the dreaded shootout to find out who would move on to the championship game.
The shootout was revamped this summer for IIHF events. In the medal rounds, five skaters take turns trying to beat the opposing goaltender. After the first five shots, the US and Russia were still tied. At this point, the coach can trot out any player that he wants for any shot, regardless of whether they have shot before. Head Coach Bob Motzko went with his gut asking Anaheim Ducks 5th round pick, University of Denver forward, Troy Terry, to take the rest of the shots for the United States against Russian netminder Ilya Samsonov. TJ Oshie was unavailable.
He didn’t miss. Terry was able to net all three of his attempts in the shootout via the five-hole — one occurred during the normal rounds — to propel Team USA into the finals.
Canada would win their semifinal matchup with Team Sweden setting up a rematch with the Americans.
USA fell behind by two goals twice in the game only to battle back to tie the game up in the third. Twenty minutes of thrilling, high octane 5-on-5 overtime was not enough to decide the game, so Team USA would go to their second shootout in as many days.
Ten shooters would face the opponent’s goaltender in the shootout. The goalies recorded nine saves.
The only goal: Troy Terry through the five-hole. Incredible.
Headline image: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
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