By: Evan Brown
On January 5, 2018, Canada faced off against Sweden in the gold medal game at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, Ny. Future NHL stars headlined both teams. Canada boasted the likes of Calder winner Cale Makar, and future Vezina candidate, Carter Hart. Sweden had a future Calder winner of their own in Elias Petterson as well as the 2018 first overall pick, Rasmus Dahlin.
Going into the final Canada was coming off a disappointing campaign the year prior losing to the United States and taking home the Silver, whereas Sweden, despite not losing a single game in the Round Robin since 2007 (a streak that has still not been broken up to the 2021 tournament) has only one gold medal over that span. Evidently, both countries had plenty of motivation in this one.
With under two minutes to play in the third period and the scored tied 1-1, defenceman Connor Timmins had the puck at the point and clapped one seemingly just wide of the net. That's when the most unlikely of heroes, Canada's 13th forward Tyler Steenbergen, dropped to one knee and tipped it past Swedish goalie Filip Gustavsson. Entering the final, Steenbergen was the only Canadian forward who hadn’t scored in the tournament. Steenbergen’s golden goal was slightly overshadowed because of what happened post-game.
Alex Formenton would put this one to rest a few seconds later sliding the puck into the empty Swede net and that was all she wrote.
Time would run out and Canada went on to win their first gold medal since 2015. Sweden’s drought continued as they just couldn’t find a way to finish strong once again.
Post-game is when things got a little out of the ordinary. During the medal presentations New York Rangers 7th-overall pick and Swedish captain Lias Andersson as per custom was the first to receive his silver medal. But uncustomarily, he took it off and threw it into the crowd! “That guy in the stands wanted it more than me,” said Andersson in a post game interview.
The medal was returned to Team Sweden after the game.
This wasn't something that happens often in sports, so it was quite obvious the media would have a field day covering this. Andersson also took some heat on social media because of this.
After all the pressure, all the hard-work, all the emotion around that game, he had reason to be upset. Andersson was only 19 at the time and still early on into his hockey career. This was everything to him. To be the Captain that ended the drought for his country would be an honour like no other. Unfortunately for Sweden, they are still searching for that third gold medal heading into the 2021 tournament.