And so, we’re set to finish essentially the most aggressive decade in World Junior Championship historical past. No workforce received gold in consecutive years. 5 completely different nations took dwelling gold. We noticed the rise of a brand new powerhouse in Finland, with the Nordic nation profitable three of its 5 whole golds throughout this time-frame.
That is really a improbable time for junior hockey. The Canadian powerhouse isn’t any extra, opening the door for extra groups to shine in a time the place it’s robust to choose an actual No. 1 favourite heading into any given yr. Numerous U-20 tournaments fill the hole all year long to assist put together international locations for the annual bonanza, with the primary 2020 occasion heading to Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
So now’s an ideal time to look again at the perfect groups of the last decade. It might be too simple to simply decide the 10 match champions and name it a day. To make this checklist, the workforce both needed to exceed all expectations – and two clear examples seem beneath – or have a near-perfect run begin to end. Finland in 2014, for instance, probably wouldn’t have gone all the best way with out the heroics of Teuvo Teravainen. So listed below are the 10 groups that stood above the remainder over, with dominant efforts from begin to end and shock efforts from match minnows:
10. Switzerland – 2010The Swiss are the one workforce on this checklist that did not win a medal. However who cares? Switzerland went from taking part in Division IA in 2009 to inside one win of bronze in 2010, largely resulting from goaltender Benjamin Conz’s 300-plus saves over the seven-game run. Nino Niederreiter turned an prompt legend with two objectives in opposition to Russia within the quarterfinals, together with the game-winner in additional time, and a team-leading 10 factors to complete seventh in match scoring. An 11-Four loss by the hands of Sweden within the bronze medal sport put a damper on the ultimate end result, however it’s going to go down as one of many prime accomplishments in Swiss hockey historical past. Not a foul method to kick off the last decade.
9. Slovakia – 2015Like Switzerland, Slovakia’s effort didn’t lead to gold, but it surely really felt like that for the Slovakian fanbase. Slovakia completed third in Group A with two wins and, after years of failing to make the quarterfinal in earlier tournaments, the Slovaks made it by way of. The Slovakian success was due largely to the goaltending heroics of Dennis Godla, who stopped a tournament-high 224 pictures and gave it all the things he had in opposition to the highest groups within the match. That helped the Slovaks snatch bronze away from a Swedish workforce that did not lose a sport within the round-robin. It was Slovakia’s second medal in World Junior Championship historical past. They haven’t received one other since.
eight. Russia – 2011Russia struggled within the round-robin, solely managing wins in opposition to the Czech Republic and Norway, groups that fell to the relegation spherical. However like with the Stanley Cup playoffs, all that you must do is just progress. The Russians began the quarterfinals by erasing a Three-1 deficit with two objectives within the last 4 minutes to pressure additional time, the place Evgeni Kuznetsov sealed the deal. Russia then scored a late one in opposition to Sweden to once more pressure additional time in a comeback effort, profitable within the shootout. However essentially the most spectacular efficiency got here within the last when Russia scored 5 unanswered objectives within the third interval, erasing Canada’s 5-Three victory to take gold. It was Russia’s solely gold of the last decade.
7. Finland – 2019The Finns weren’t dominant by any means, ending third in Group A motion, however this group featured celebrity potential. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was a contender for High Goaltender final yr – he was edged out by Russia’s Pyotr Kochetkov – however Buffalo Sabres followers received’t thoughts in the long term. On protection, Ville Heinola, Henrik Jokiharju, Toni Utunen, Anttoni Honka, Urho Vaakanainen and Oskari Laaksonen shaped the most effective protection corps in current match historical past and allowed the Finns to hold round in video games by which they have been out-powered. Up entrance, Kaapo Kakko, Aleksi Heponiemi, Rasmus Kupari and Anton Lundell led the offensive cost and proved that you just don’t want an elite prospect to win a match just like the world juniors. A real workforce effort helped the Finns win gold over america, including to the rising checklist of achievements for the most effective hockey nations on the earth.
6. Finland – 2016Jesse Puljujarvi, Sebastian Aho and Patrik Laine? Yeah, signal us up. With 17 objectives and 44 factors between them, the Finns have been past dominant. Roope Hintz, Mikko Rantanen, Olli Juolevi and Kasperi Kapanen have been all on the highest of their sport and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen was fairly good on dwelling ice, too. It was a significant second in Finnish hockey historical past, because the junior aspect took gold in Helsinki, ending forward of robust golf equipment from USA, Sweden and Russia. This was Finland’s second of three gold medals throughout the 2010s.
5. Canada – 2018Any workforce that used Cale Makar as a seventh defenseman needed to be good. Canada had an almost excellent report in 2018, with the workforce’s lone loss coming within the outside sport at New Period Area in Buffalo. With Carter Hart in purpose, Makar, Victor Mete and Dante Fabbro on protection and Jordan Kyrou, Sam Metal and Drake Batherson up entrance, Canada iced a quick, expert workforce that no one may mess with again in 2018. Surprisingly, it was Canada’s second gold of the 2010s. That’s the fewest top-of-podium finishes in any decade for Canada.
Four. USA – 2017The Individuals received gold 3 times throughout the 2010s, beating Canada twice on Canadian ice. It doesn’t get significantly better than that, actually. The Individuals rolled by way of round-robin motion with an ideal report earlier than profitable all three medal-round video games by a single purpose, however a 5-Four shootout victory over Canada in Montreal within the last was all that mattered. Clayton Keller and Charlie McAvoy have been named to the match all-star workforce, however Jordan Greenway, Adam Fox, Jeremy Bracco, Kieffer Bellows and Jack Roslovic have been all affect gamers, too. Essentially the most memorable half? A sure shootout hero named Troy Terry.
Three. USA – 2013The 2013 match will perpetually be remembered for John Gibson’s dominant show of goaltending, however USA’s gold-medal effort was completely stacked. Johnny Gaudreau, Jacob Trouba and J.T. Miller had 9 factors every, and Alex Galchenyuk (eight) and Seth Jones (seven) weren’t far behind. Gibson was the simple alternative for match MVP with a 1.36 GAA and .955 SP in seven video games, out-duelling Andrei Vasilevsky because the match’s finest goaltender. USA blew out Canada 5-1 to advance to the ultimate earlier than topping Sweden Three-1. Gibson allowed simply two objectives within the three medal-round video games.
2. Canada – 2015Zach Fucale was at his finest, Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Sam Reinhart couldn’t be stopped and Curtis Lazar, Nic Petan and Brayden Level offered high-caliber secondary scoring. Oh, and Connor McDavid was fairly good, too. Canada scored a whopping 21 objectives and allowed simply 4 in 4 round-robin video games, in the end ending with an ideal 7-Zero report, regardless that a late comeback scare within the last in opposition to Russia virtually ended what was speculated to be a surefire gold medal. Ultimately, it labored out, and Canada capped off the most effective tournaments in world junior historical past.
1. Sweden – The 2010sSweden had essentially the most dominant – and perhaps additionally essentially the most disappointing – run throughout the decade, failing to lose a single round-robin sport from 2010-2019. (The jury continues to be out about this yr’s match, clearly.) Sweden hasn’t misplaced a preliminary spherical sport since Dec. 31, 2006 in opposition to america. The Swedes would probably commerce all that in for a pair extra items of golden hardware, although. Sweden received gold in 2012, but it surely has a 1-5 report heading into the 2020 version.
Over the subsequent two weeks, The Hockey Information can be wrapping up the 2010s with a glance again at the perfect – and worst – of the last decade. Discover extra right here.
Need extra in-depth options, evaluation and an All-Entry go to the newest content material? Subscribe to The Hockey Information journal.
Tags: lists, world junior championship, 2010sConnect: Concerning the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.