Probably the most difficult thing for a home team to endure is the agony and disappointment of having to watch the visitors celebrate a championship right in front of them and their faithful fans.
That was the scene at Montreal’s Bell Centre in the gold medal game as the United States defeated Canada 5-4 in a shootout to capture the 2017 IIHF U20 World Championships and give the Americans their fourth world junior title.
American forward Troy Terry silenced the crowd of 20,173 fans, nearly all cheering for Canada, when he scored the only goal in the shootout beating Carter Hart between the legs with a quick, accurate shot, putting an end to their country’s hope of a world junior championship.
It was the fourth time in two games that Terry scored on a free pass.
He tallied three times against Russia in the semifinals and once again to put a dagger in the hearts of Canadian fans from coast to coast.
U.S. goaltender Tyler Parsons did his job in net stopping all five Canadians in the shootout.
Nicolas Roy appeared to have Parsons beaten on Canada’s fifth and final attempt but lost control of the puck after going to his backhand.
The puck trickled into Parson’s pads and the American celebration was on.
World Junior Classic is the only way to describe this one.
"What a terrific game between two fantastic hockey countries," said Bob Motzko, head coach of Team USA.
"When we got together in Michigan for our camp this summer, there was something special with these guys. This team had great camaraderie, tremendous heart and always battled. This is a special group who will forever walk together."
The victory gives Team USA its fourth gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship, and tenth medal in the event.
The Americans are now 4-1 all-time in gold medal games at the World Juniors.
Canada collected its 10th silver medal to go along with their 16 gold, and five bronze in 41 appearances at the World Juniors.
"As a coach, as a staff, we wanted our players to give everything they had and buy into this team concept," said Dominque Ducharme, Team Canada head coach.
"The guys went all out. We're disappointed for our guys. They deserved to be rewarded."
Not sure what was harder, being a player or a fan, because it was as an emotional roller coaster for the entire 80-plus minutes.
Sixty minutes of regulation did not settle anything. The score remained 4-4 even after 20 minutes of overtime.
In the gold medal game, IIHF rules stipulate that if the score is still deadlocked after 20 minutes of five-on-five overtime, a five player shootout will be utilized to decide the outcome.
Canada chose to shoot second in the shootout with the first three players from both sides being stopped.
Terry scored in the fourth round of shooters and Parsons shut the door for the Americans the rest of the way.
“After Terry scored that goal I knew what I had to do, stop the puck and we’ll win gold” said Parsons.
Canada jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by two defencemen, Thomas Chabot and Jeremy Lauzon and looked to be in control of their destiny.
But the Americans had something to say about that with two markers of their own in the middle stanza by Charlie McAvoy and Kieffer Bellows.
Nicolas Roy and Mathieu Joseph put Canada up 4-2 early in the third, but Bellows tallied again and Colin White tied it at 7:07 of the third to force the game into an extra period.
Both teams had several chances to put a bow on this classic including a golden opportunity by American F Clayton Keller 45 seconds into the extra session from the side of the left circle.
Mitchell Stephens had a yawning cage staring him in the face but couldn’t find the back of the U.S. net.
Both goaltenders stood tall with Parsons making 17 saves in the extra session for the U.S., while Hart had seven stops for Canada.
In the shootout, Dylan Strome, Matthew Barzal, Tyson Jost, Anthony Cirelli and Roy were denied by Parsons.
Besides Terry, the American shooters consisted of Colin White, Clayton Keller, Kieffer Bellows and Jeremy Bracco.
The United States will host next year's IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York, from December 26, 2017 to January 5, 2018.
The event will feature an outdoor game between the U.S. and Canada at New Era Field, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
In the bronze medal game, Denis Guryanov scored 33 seconds into overtime to give Russia a 2-1 victory over Sweden and the country’s seventh straight World Junior medal.
For the Swedes, it marks the third straight WJC without a medal. Sweden finished fourth in 2015 and 2016. They picked up silver in 2013 and 2014.
Team Canada defenceman Thomas Chabot was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship by the media.
Chabot led all defencemen in tournament scoring with 10 points (4G, 6A).
Russian captain Kirill Kaprizov was named Best Forward and an all-star after leading the World Juniors with nine goals.
Best Goalkeeper: Felix Sandstrom, Sweden
Best Defenceman: Thomas Chabot, Canada
Best Forward: Kirill Kaprizov, Russia
G: Ilya Samsonov, Russia
D: Thomas Chabot, Canada
D: Charlie McAvoy, United States
F: Kirill Kaprizov, Russia
F: Alexander Nylander, Sweden
F: Clayton Keller, United States
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