Bill Beacon - The Canadian Press
MALMO, Sweden – Mikhail Grigorenko and Eduard Gimatov scored in the first period as Russia sent Canada home without a medal at the world junior championship for a second year in a row with a 2-1 victory in the bronze-medal game on Sunday.
© FRANK GUNN-THE CANADIAN PRESS
Russia goaltender Andrei Vasilevski makes a save on Canada forward Anthony Mantha duirng first period bronze medal game action at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Malmo, Sweden on Sunday, January 5, 2014.
Josh Morrissey made a mostly unemotional game interesting when he beat Andrei Vasilevski 7:10 into the third period, but Canada could not get the equalizer despite pulling goalie Zach Fucale in the final minute.
Canada, which lost to host Russia 6-5 in the bronze-medal game a year ago in Ufa, had not missed the medals in consecutive years since a three-year drought from 1979 to 1981.
Their hopes for a first gold medal in five years were dashed by a 5-1 loss to Finland in the semifinals on Saturday. The Russians were coming off a 2-1 semifinal defeat to host Sweden.
It was the second-youngest Canadian squad ever at the world juniors, and 11 players are eligible to return for the 2015 tournament in Montreal and Toronto.
For 48 minutes until Morrissey’s goal, it was perhaps one of the least intense Canada-Russia games ever, despite the clapping and chanting of the large Canadian contingent in the crowd of 10,714 at Malmo Arena.
Russia was on a power play when Grigorenko’s pass went in off Mathew Dumba’s skate 3:35 into the game. Gimatov got one on a rush at 14:38 when he used Morrissey as a screen and beat Fucale with a high shot.
Canada had chances in a scoreless second period, but Bo Horvat and Griffin Reinhart couldn’t connect with opens nets, Aaron Ekblad just missed a top corner and Anthony Mantha was stopped by Vasilevski on a rush down the right wing.
Canada came to life when Morrissey went to the net to deflect in Charles Hudon’s pass. Canadian fans stood and chanted “goal” while pointing to the centre ice dot as officials reviewed the play to see if Morrissey kicked it in.
Notes — Germany downed Norway 3-1 to win the best-of-three relegation series and will be back at the world juniors for a team-record third straight time next year in Montreal and Toronto. Norway is relegated. Denmark will move up next year.