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Canada set to defend gold medal after eliminating Russia

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Team Canada has a chance to repeat.

Defeating Russia in a 5-0 final on Monday, Canada marked its sixth-straight victory at the 2021 World Junior Championship. The Great White North got off to an early start, carrying a three-goal edge into the first intermission with London Knights centre Connor McMichael (Washington Capitals) and Saginaw Spirit left-wing Cole Perfetti (Winnipeg Jets) among the goal scorers.

Controlling much of the early play against Russia, Canada continued to pour on the offense, with blue-liner and New York Rangers first-round pick Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings among three multi-point performers alongside Val-d’Or Foreurs left-wing Jakob Pelletier (Calgary Flames) as well as Lethbridge Hurricanes centre and Team Canada co-captain Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabres).

As he has throughout the tournament, Cozens continued to push the pace offensively for Canada, picking up a pair of assists in the opening frame then adding an empty-net tally late in the third period to push his team-leading total to 16 points counting eight goals and eight assists in six appearances.

“Our defence tonight were phenomenal. They were solid, they made plays under pressure, and killed plays at the blue line,” said head coach Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s. “We knew how the Russians attack their opponents and they did try to break through the middle a lot. That was key for our defence to withstand a team with a lot of skill and speed.”

Canada now faces the United States on Tuesday as it challenges for its tournament-leading 19th gold-medal win and first back-to-back titles since 2009.

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