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Montembeault Backstops Canada to Gold

May 28, 2023, 8:05 PM ET [183 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

Canada didn’t go to the World Championships as the favorite to win it all, far from it. They didn’t have a single player with more than a 20-goal season and they didn’t even have an established NHL number 1 goaltender, but they bought in to what head coach Andre Tourigny put into place and they came out on top ultimately. It wasn’t an easy route with losses to Switzerland and Norway along the way, but when things got serious, they reached another gear and beat Finland, Latvia (who went on to win Bronze) and Germany in the finals to claim gold.

Two Habs players will therefore be coming home with a gold medal around their neck, netminder Samuel Montembeault and rearguard Justin Barron. If Barron didn’t take a prominent role, Montembeault was the team’s number one goaltender and he showed that he was more than up to the task. This will no doubt do wonders for the youngster’s confidence, and he has raised his stock with his performance throughout the tourney. I fully expect Kent Hughes to negotiate a contract extension with him sooner rather than later.

The other Canadiens which took part in the championship are coming home empty handed, Joel Armia and Finland fell to Canada in the quarterfinals, Frederik Dichow’s Denmark didn’t qualify for the medal round and Americans Lane Hutson, Sean Farrell and Luke Tuch finished just outside the top 3, losing the bronze medal game to Latvia in overtime earlier today.
Still, Lane Hutson had a great tournament and showed why many are already excited at the thought of seeing him play for the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. That won’t happen right away, he’s still got a lot to learn before he can star in the NHL and hopefully a bit more growing up to do, but it will be worth the wait.

Likely second pick at the next entry draft Adam Fantilli became just the 2nd Canadian to win both the World Junior Championship and the World Championship in the same year after Jonathan Toews did it in 2007. 11 players have achieved the feat in total across all nations. Congratulations are also in order for Samuel Blais, a depth forward in the NHL he had big goals for Canada all through the medal round and even got a pair in the gold medal game.

While Canada goes home as the tournament winner, Latvia must feel on top of the world right now. The host nation grabbed the bronze medal against all odds and this will do wonders for the sport in a nation that has never been a powerhouse of the game.

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