The Riga Recap: Gold and Bronze Medal Recap

The final few days of the IIHF Men’s World Championships were nothing short of exciting. A team who had started the tournament out with 3 losses turned it around in the latter part of the tournament to come out with a overtime gold-medal victory, two close semi-final games, and an up and coming hockey nation securing 4th overall in the tournament led to an exciting end to a successful World Championships. 

Bronze-Medal Match-Up

In the bronze medal match-up in Riga, we saw the rising hockey nation of Germany taking on the United States. The two teams had previously met on the 31st which saw the United States squad come out on top with a 2-0 victory. After a successful playoff run, the German team was looking for redemption against the Americans to win the bronze. 

The game started out in favour of the German squad. Only letting one goal, courtesy of Christian Wolanin, in the back of the German net, the game was 1-0 in favour of the Americans heading into the second period. Unfortunately, despite the nice start in the first for the German squad, the second period was not kind to the trailing squad. 

The second period started off with a quick American goal from Conor Garland, Arizona Coyotes forward, followed by another American goal from Jack Dury, a current player in the Swedish Hockey League. The second period was not only the start of the goal-scoring clinic from the Americans, it was also the beginning of the penalty spree that the two teams would go on. The American squad spent much of their second period short-handed due to their lack of control by the American squad. Despite the penalty taking, Trevor Moore, was able to further the American lead by 5 heading into the third and final frame. 

The third period started out similar to the second period; with penalties. After both teams served their respective penalties, Dominik Bittner scored for Germany to put the German squad on the board. Less than a minute later, Ryan Donato, scored for the US squad to give them a 6-1 lead. Donato would score the final goal of the game giving the Americans the victory. The clock would wind down on the game but not before both teams would take their fair share of penalties. 

Despite the penalty-filled third period, the American squad won the bronze medal. This bronze-medal victory gave USA Hockey, their 13th medal at a World Championships and their 4th in 8 World Championships. 

Gold-Medal Match-Up

After Canada beat their biggest hockey rival, the United States, 4-2 in the semi-finals, Canada had their eyes set on Finland. A Finnish squad who had beat Canada earlier in the round-robin part of the tournament, 3-2 in a shootout, were looking for their second win against the Canadian squad in the gold medal game. 

The gold-medal game did not start out the way that the Canadian squad wanted. A string of first period penalties caused the Finnish squad to strike first. Mikael Ruohomaa scored for FInland at the 8:57 mark to give the defending champions, a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.

Unlike the first period, Finland was the squad to start the period off with a string of penalties. Maxime Comtois was able to capitalize on Atte Ohtamaa’s tripping penalty to put Canada on the board. Comtois’ goal was the lone goal of the second period making the gold-medal game a 1-1 tie heading into the third. 

The third period started off with an early Finnish goal, thanks to Petteri Lindbohm, giving them the 2-1 lead. As the clock winded down and after a major Canadian penalty, Mikael Ruohomaa took a tripping penalty which led to an Adam Henrique goal. Henrique’s goal, with assists from Comtois and Connor Brown, tied the game up at 2’s forcing an gold-medal, winner takes all overtime period. 

Ottawa Senators’ Nick Paul scored the game-winning goal for Team Canada with an assist from his Senators’ teammate, Connor Brown. With Nick Paul’s goal, Canada had won an IIHF World Championship gold-medal. The team Canada victory was the first time a team has lost their first three games of the tournament and went on to win the gold-medal. 

We, at Unbenched, would like to thank everyone for reading our daily updates and for following along on our 2021 IIHF World Championship coverage!

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