Juniors minted

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Standing on the blueline, arm in arm, they sang.

Sure it was off key but their rendition of O Canada was sweet music to Canadian ears from coast to coast.

That's because Canada's hockey youth once again live by the gold standard after claiming the crown at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

"This is the big one," said Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan Getzlaf. "We're going to enjoy this for many years to come. Any time you see these guys, you'll have that special bond."

In claiming its first championship crown since 1997, Canada quenched its gold-medal thirst with a resounding tidal wave, thumping Russia by a 6-1 count last night.

It's the first time in four tries Canada has beaten its biggest rival in the gold-medal game.

"I'm very proud of all of them," said coach Brent Sutter. "As a staff, it was all about the kids. To me, coaching is about giving direction and getting the players to follow it.

"They're gold medallists because they deserve to be."

The game may have been played in Grand Forks but it could have been anywhere between Bonavista and Vancouver Island with the way the raucous sellout crowd of 11,862 turned the Ralph Engelstad Arena into a mass of red and white.

The fans, waving flags and carrying signs that showed their support, didn't have long to wait before given cause to erupt.

It took only 51 ticks for the fired-up favourites to open the scoring, since that's when Getzlaf stepped into a drop pass from Jeff Carter and rocketed a bullet past Russian goalie Anton Khudobin.

Soon after, Danny Syvret banked a shot into the Russian cage off Khudobin's leg to double the lead.

Alexei Emelin put the Russian's on the board with a late first-period powerplay goal but that just fuelled the Canadians for a dominating middle frame in which they scored four times.

Carter, tournament MVP Patrice Bergeron, Anthony Stewart and Flames prospect Dion Phaneuf -- with Canada's third powerplay goal of the night -- all tallied to make it the five-goal edge.

Billed as Canada's best world junior team, they stated their case by outscoring their opposition by a 41-7 over six one-sided games.

"We wanted to show up every night," said Getzlaf, who added a pair of assists. "It didn't really matter what the score was at the end of the night, as long as you get the job done."

But even they were a little caught off guard by how well they did.

"It all started in our end and how dominant our team was there," said Hitmen forward Andrew Ladd.

Cochrane's Jeff Glass finished his performance with an emphatic finale, stopping 18 shots, including a pair of chances given Evgeni Malkin during a first-period five-on-three.

"That was huge," Sutter said.

Big enough to set the tone for a golden song, even if it was out of tune.


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