Canada's medal streak at the IIHF World Junior Championship came to a halt on Saturday when they fell 6-5 to Russia in overtime in the bronze medal game.
Prior to the loss, Canada had won medals in 14 consecutive tournaments.
Calgary Flames prospect Tyler Wotherspoon was a pillar of strength on the Canadian blueline and saw his role elevated throughout the tournament thanks to his smart play in all three zones. An example of that responsible, intelligent play came late in the game on Saturday.
With two minutes left in regulation, a quick pass up the ice nearly led to a Nail Yakupov breakaway but Wotherspoon read it perfectly. He closed the gap and calmly knocked the puck away from the Russian captain.
Canada was without defenceman Griffin Reinhart due to his four-game suspension for his high-stick on Vince Trocheck in the semi-final on Thursday. In response, they shuffled their defensive pairings accordingly throughout the game.
The Russians came out strong and gained a two-goal lead five minutes into the game. Alexander Khokhlachev opened the scoring when his long shot trickled past Jordan Binnington at the 3:31 mark. Shortly after, Yakupov made it 2-0 on a power play when he was able to one-time a pass from Albert Yarullin.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got Canada on the board at 4:56 with a power play tally. Mark Scheifele earned the lone assist on Nugent-Hopkins fourth goal of the tournament.
After Kirill Diakov's long slap shot off a draw eluded Binnington to give the Russians another two-goal lead, the coaching staff put Malcom Subban in net.
Late in the first period, Jonathan Huberdeau pulled Canada within a goal on the man advantage. Defenceman Ryan Murphy sent a hard shot on net from the point that bounced off the post. Huberdeau collected the loose puck and had a wipe open net to slap it into.
Scheifele added his second goal of the game 3:16 of the second period while Canada was on a power play to tie it up but the Russians responded quickly. Yevgeni Mozer beat Subban just over a minute later to restore the Russian lead.
Murphy notched the equalizer with Canada's fourth power play marker of the day. With traffic in front of Andrei Makarov, he sent a blast from the blueline that found the back of the net.
Yakupov's second goal of the game gave Russia the lead early in the third period. Kirill Kapustin's pass hit Yakupov at the side of the net and Subban couldn't get over in time to make the save.
Canada's first even-strength goal came off of Brett Ritchie's stick at 10:46 of the third period and that tally would force overtime in Ufa.
2013 draft-eligible forward Valeri Nichushkin ended the game when he ducked around Murphy along the wall and drove hard to the net. Morgan Rielly was unable to knock the puck off his stick and Nichushkin tucked it around Subban's pad.
CANADA'S LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALTENDERS
Jonathan Huberdeau - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Ty Rattie
Jonathan Drouin - Ryan Strome - Mark Scheifele
Philip Danault - Boone Jenner - Brett Ritchie
Anthony Camara - Mark McNeill - Nathan MacKinnon
Scott Harrington - Dougie Hamilton
Xavier Oullet - Tyler Wotherspoon
Morgan Rielly - Ryan Murphy
RUSSIA'S LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALTENDER
Nail Yakupov - Alexander Khokhlachev - Kirill Kapustin
Anton Slepyshev - Mikhail Grigorenko - Nikita Kucherov
Valeri Nichushkin - Vladimir Tkachev - Yaroslav Kosov
Daniil Zharkov - Yevgeni Mozer - Maxim Shalunov
Albert Yarullin - Nikita Nesterov
Kirill Diakov - Yaroslav Dyblenko
Andrei Mironov - Pavel Koledov
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