Exhale: Canada holds off Russia, wins 2015 WJC gold

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Canada probably made a few hearts skip a beat in Toronto, but ultimately they held on to beat Russia 5-4 to win gold at the 2015 World Junior Championship on Monday. It’s the dominant country’s first gold in this format since 2009.

They raced out to a 5-1 lead, yet a penalty-heavy second period melted that margin to an excruciating one-goal difference. There were countless close calls, yet Canada managed to bend-but-not break enough to win it all.

Again, it was an edge-of-your-seat finish, especially if you were rooting for Canada or Russia. Just ask Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle, who has enjoyed dramatic highs and lows of his own at the WJC:

It was a scintillating preview of hockey’s future, especially in regard to possible 2015 first overall pick Connor McDavid (pictured).

McDavid scored a goal in the gold-medal game, yet it was once again Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi who stood out the most, as he collected a goal and two assists to lead Canadian scorers. Zach Fucale was put to the test in net, stopping 26 out of 30 shots, including some high-presure work in the dying moments.

In other tournament news,¬†Slovakia beat Sweden 4-2 earlier today to win bronze, marking just its second medal in the tournament and the first since also winning bronze in 1999. Goalie Denis Godla won MVP; here’s the rest of the tournament MVP list, via the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle: