International Ice Hockey Federation

Magical masked men

Magical masked men

Top 10 goalie performances in WJC history

Published 25.04.2017 09:17 GMT-4 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Magical masked men
In 2015, Denis Godla's 37 saves against Finland in Montreal put Slovakia on track to win bronze and helped him become tournament MVP. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images
Fans often expect high-scoring games at the World Juniors. But some goalies have stolen the show with incredible outings against the world’s U20 best.

That can be a springboard to Olympic or NHL glory. In other cases, one shining moment is as good as it gets. But regardless, these magical masked men endure in the hearts and minds of World Junior fans.

Let’s look back at the top 10 single-game goaltending performances in tournament history.

1988: Jimmy Waite (CAN) – Canada 3, Soviet Union 2

Waite, a diminutive Chicago Blackhawks prospect, played the game of his life on New Year’s Day in Moscow. The Soviet squad, featuring Sergei Fyodorov and Alexander Mogilny, mounted a furious onslaught in the last two periods, but the Chicoutimi Sagueneens netminder recorded 38 saves and Canada went on to win gold.

Where is he today? Waite is the Hawks’ goaltending coach.

1993: Manny Legace (CAN) – Canada 3, Finland 2

The Finns had outshot Canada 66-49 in a 2-2 tie the year before in Fussen, Germany, and they kept up their barrage in Uppsala, Sweden. Facing a Finnish squad with future senior-team legends Saku Koivu, Jere Lehtinen, and Ville Peltonen, Legace was dynamite as Finland outshot Canada 60-38. This victory clinched gold for the Canadians.

Where is he today? Legace is the goaltending coach for the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

1998: David Aebischer (SUI) – Switzerland 2, Sweden 1

Aebischer, the first Swiss player to win a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001, still looks back fondly on his role in this quarter-final upset in Helsinki: “In the second period, we had to kill off a 5-on-3 Swedish power play, and...somehow, over the course of two minutes, we kept the puck out of the net. We scored with about two minutes left in the game to tie it, and then it ended up in a shootout that went to nine or ten shooters.” That paved the way for coach Bill Gilligan’s team to claim Switzerland’s lone World Junior medal with a 4-3 bronze shootout win over the Czechs.

Where is he today? Aebischer is the goaltending coach for HC Fribourg-Gotteron in the Swiss NLA.

2006: Tuukka Rask (FIN) – Finland 1, Sweden 0

A pedestrian Finnish team was saved by Rask’s highway robbery in the quarter-final in Vancouver. En route to a 53-save shutout, he stoned Johannes Salomonsson repeatedly on power play chances. Rask opened the door for Teemu Laakso’s overtime winner. Presaging his 2014 Vezina Trophy, the acrobatic Savonlinna native put on another show in the bronze medal game as the Finns beat the U.S. 4-2.

Where is he today? Rask is the starting goalie for the Boston Bruins.

2007: Carey Price (CAN) – Canada 2, United States 1

While Jonathan Toews is famed for scoring three times in the shootout on U.S. goalie Jeff Frazee, this game is also where the legend of Carey Price first took root. The future Hart Trophy winner and 2014 Olympic gold medalist was brilliant in overtime, as the Americans outshot Canada 12-2. Although Price surrendered two goals to U.S. forward Peter Mueller in the shootout, he stopped the Everett Silvertips star’s third attempt, and that ended it. Canada then beat Russia 4-2 in the gold medal game.

Where is he today? Price is the starting goalie for the Montreal Canadiens.

2009: Jaroslav Janus (SVK) – Slovakia 5, United States 3

In classical mythology, Janus was the Roman god who gave January its name. This 19-year-old Slovak netminder played like a god in the 2 January quarter-final in Ottawa. Janus made 44 saves to upset an American squad with eight first-round NHL picks, including Kevin Shattenkirk and James van Riemsdyk.

Where is he today? Janus is the starting goalie for HC Litvinov of the Czech Extraliga.

2010: Benjamin Conz (SUI) – Switzerland 3, Russia 2

Nino Niederreiter grabbed the headlines by scoring the last-minute tying goal and OT winner against the heavily favoured Russians, who had Vladimir Tarasenko and Yevgeni Kuznetsov. But Conz was equally responsible for the outcome. With top Swiss D-men Roman Josi and Luca Sbisa out with injuries, the 18-year-old stood on his head with 50 stops.

Where is he today? Conz is the starting goalie for HC Fribourg-Gotteron.

2012: Petr Mrazek (CZE) – Czech Republic 5, United States 2

The powerful Americans have only appeared in the relegation round once in the new millennium, and Mrazek was largely responsible. His 52 saves in Edmonton gave the Czechs a massive upset. “I think that was one of the best games that I played in my life,” said Mrazek, then playing for the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. The Czechs finished fifth and the U.S. seventh.

Where is he today? With Jimmy Howard injured, Mrazek is the starting goalie for the Detroit Red Wings.

2012: Andrei Makarov (RUS) – Sweden 1, Russia 0

Russian coach Valeri Bragin is known for his unconventional goaltending choices. Pre-tournament, Makarov was projected to back up Andrei Vasilevski, who now stars for the Tampa Bay Lightning. But when Canada rallied from a 6-1 deficit to make it 6-5 in the semi-final versus Russia, Bragin yanked Vasilevski for Makarov, who held down the fort. Bragin also gave the 18-year-old Saskatoon Blades netminder the start in the gold medal game. He made an unthinkable 57 saves against Sweden before surrendering Mika Zibanejad’s spectacular overtime winner.

Where is he today? Makarov is the starting goalie for Kunlun Red Star, the new KHL franchise in Beijing, China.

2015: Denis Godla (SVK) – Slovakia 2, Finland 1

The headline was “Oh my Godla!”, and with good reason. Shots were 38-12 for Finland in this round-robin matchup. Without Godla’s heroics, Slovakia would have been toast. And the Orange 20 Bratislava netminder didn’t stop there. After the Slovaks beat Sweden 4-2 for bronze, Godla was named a tournament all-star, Best Goalie and MVP.

Where is he today? Godla plays for KalPa Kuopio of Finland’s Liiga.


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