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5 Top Takeaways From IIHF World Junior Tournament

What are the most interesting stories coming out of this year’s IIHF World Juniors Tournament? We have five that caught our attention.

The World Juniors have now come and gone but the memory of a gold medal will stick with Canadians for some time. Congratulations go out to the group of young men, many of whom will soon be NHL’ers, who battled hard in an enjoyable tournament to watch for fans of the great game we call hockey.

And, like any big championship tournament, there are more than a few stories coming out of the game, the match-ups and the tournament itself. Here were a few of the biggest:

Canada Wins!

It’s hard to argue there’s anything more enjoyable than watching a comeback win, especially one where the gold medal is on the line. Obviously, this is a disappointing loss for the Russians but for Team Canada, this was a struggle and one they overcame.

Russia had dominated Canada in the early part of the tournament and it appeared as though they could win again when it mattered most. Instead, the Canadians fought back from a 3-1 deficit to score three unanswered goals and take the tournament.

A win must feel good. A win like this must feel amazing.

The Camera Controversy

One of the stories that will clearly be front-and-center over the next few days is the role the TSN camera played in the win for Team Canada. Rightfully so. This was an extremely lucky break for the Canadians and a fair argument to be made this was a penalty that wasn’t properly called.

TSN camera help Team Canada win gold

The way one of the rules are written in IIHF hockey, if a puck hits a structure in the arena that is above the glass and outside the area of play, it is not deemed a penalty. Perhaps the referees knew that rule and deemed this to be an example of it. That said, the puck was clearly headed out of play in what would ordinarily be a delay-of-game penalty. Canada caught a break and Russia fell apart after the fact.

The Intestinal Fortitude of Barrett Hayton

That Arizona Coyotes forward prospect Barrett Hayton was able to come back and tie the game was incredible. Frankly, that he was even playing in this game was amazing.

After suffering a Grade A shoulder separation, he was able to not just get in the game but be a huge factor in it, completely taking the winds out of the sails of Team Russia after a goal that went in off Connor McMichael’s leg that shifted the momentum towards the Canadians.

Hayton’s performance is one that Canadians will be extremely proud of and something that will be talked about for year’s to come.

Related: Pierre Engvall’s Making His Mark with the Maple Leafs

Speaking of Incredible… Alexis Lafreniere

How good is this kid? It looked like a lot of hope was lost when he went down with an injury and there were questions about how serious it was. He too returned and provided a major lift for Team Canada.

The current consensus projected top-pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Lafreniere was named the MVP of the tournament, by the IIHF, as well as the top forward. He’ll be a difference-maker for whichever team drafts him.

Rasmus Sandin Is About To Show The World

Perhaps the best player in the entire tournament, Rasmus Sandin is about to show everyone just how good of a hockey player he is. Craig Button called the debate over the best defenseman in the tournament not even close, labeling Sandin as the best and Chris Johnston of Sportsnet said on Saturday that the Toronto Maple Leafs have plans to bring him over now that the tournament is done.

Speculation is that he’ll play in the NHL next season and the Maple Leafs are counting on him to contribute. He may not have gotten a lot of the discussion thanks to a final game that didn’t include him, but the world is about to find out how talented he is. He was named Best Defenseman in the tournament and the voting wasn’t probably close.

Many are estimating he’ll be a 25-minute a night player in the NHL.

Related: Oilers James Neal Getting Lots of Love For Unselfish Play

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