IIHF Top 100 WM Stories – Part I
by Andrew Podnieks|07 MAY 2020
Finnish forward Mikael Grandlund scored THE goal at the 2011 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
photo: Kamaryt Michal / CTK
Sometimes a goal is considered great because it wins a championship or a critical game; sometimes because it is, in and of itself, a moment of great artistry around the opposing net. Either way, they are beautiful plays that leave you in awe years and even decades later.

Maltsev slaloms to Soviets 8th straight gold

The 1970 World Championship was supposed to have been played in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but when Canada withdrew from international competition in 1969, Stockholm stepped up and took on the responsibility of hosting. And what a tournament it turned out to be! The gold medal came down to the final day and the final game, Tre Kronor playing the Soviets before 9,572 fans at Johanneshovs Isstadion. Sweden had defeated CCCP, 4-2, earlier in the double round robin event, but going into the final day the Soviets had 16 points and Sweden 15. A tie or win would give the Soviets gold; a Sweden win and the hosts would finish in first place. Sweden got the first goal, just eight seconds into the second period, but the Soviets struck for two quick goals late in the second. Then, Alexander Maltsev scored a beautiful goal at 15:42 of the third to give the team victory. It was the Soviets’ sixth World Championship gold in a row, and combined with Olympic gold in 1964 and ’68 gave them eight titles in succession.

Sandstrom helps Tre Kronor to first title in 25 years

We all know of golden goals and famous winning goals, but it’s rare that a goal to TIE the game wins a gold medal. Yet that’s exactly what happened at the 1987 World Championship in Vienna, Austria. In the four-team medal round that consisted of Canada, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, and Soviet Union, it was a game between Tre Kronor and CCCP on May Day that decided the gold medal. Sweden had tied its first game, 3-3 with the Czechoslovaks, while Canada and the Soviets played to a rare 0-0 draw as well. In the next game, the Soviets scored first but Sweden tied five minutes later. Vladimir Krutov scored his second midway through the third period, and that looked to be the winner as the clock ticked down. But with less than two minutes to play, Sweden got the puck into the Soviets end and a great three-way passing play tied the game. Defenceman Tommy Albelin saw Hakan Loob to the side of the goal and got him the puck, and Loob immediately made a sensational back pass to Tomas Sandstrom on the other side of the net. He swatted the puck into the empty side, and the game ended 2-2. When Sweden routed Canada, 9-0, on the final day, it was a gold medal for Sweden, its first since 1962.

Peltonen puts game on ice for Finnish gold

Although Finland won silver medals at the 1992 and 1994 World Championship, these were the only two medals Suomi had ever won in WM competition. That all changed in 1995, in Stockholm, Sweden, when the Finns and Swedes met in the final game of the tournament. The Finns had the easier time getting to the gold-medal game, and they got off to just the start they needed when Ville Peltonen scored just 8:07 into the game. Most of the next two periods were close and tense, but Peltonen scored again at 17:39 of the second to make it 2-0. But he wasn’t done yet. Two minutes later, linemate Saku Koivu fired a pass to Mika Stromberg near the Swedish goal, and as he moved in to take a shot he lost control of the puck. It slid fortuitously to Peltonen, and he whacked home his third goal of the game at 19:56. It was a crushing goal, and although teams exchanged goals in the third, Finland skated to a convincing 4-1 win to claim its first ever World Championship gold.

Canada's Rick Nash scores a beauty against Finns

The 2007 World Championship was arguably the highlight of Rick Nash’s hockey career, and certainly was among the top moments of his international career with Team Canada. Captaining the team for the first and only time, he led Canada to the gold medal at the World Championship in Moscow and was named tournament MVP as well. He also scored the last goal of the tournament, a goal that sealed the win and was also the most sensational of the event. Canada built a 3-0 lead through two periods and was in control, but in the third the Finns scored early to give themselves hope. They scored again with just 2:16 remaining, and that cozy 3-0 lead was now a precarious 3-2 game. Then Nash took over. Getting the puck in centre ice, he tore in on goal with Finnish defenceman Pekka Saravo draped all over him. Nash fought him off, and as he fell to the ice he slid the puck past Kari Lehtonen. That squashed the comeback and gave Canada gold, and Nash’s place in hockey history.

Tic-Tac-GOAL for Sergei Fyodorov

The semi-finals of the 2008 World Championship in Quebec City featured two great rivals playing the two great Nordic countries. The Russians played Finland while Canada took on Sweden on the final weekend of the IIHF’s Centennial celebrations. While the hosts advanced with a tense 5-4 win over Tre Kronor, their arch-rivals Russians had an easier time of it against Suomi thanks in large part to an early and sensational goal by Sergei Fyodorov (number 29). He got the puck off a turnover in his own end and broke up ice with two Alexanders – Ovechkin (#8) and Syomin (#28). Thus began a three-way passing play that left goalie Niklas Backstrom utterly out to dry. The tic-tac-toe sequence of passes went like this: 29-28-8-28-29. Goal! Russia went on to a 4-0 win, then beat Canada in overtime the next night to win its first gold medal at WM in 15 years, its longest ever drought.

Peter Regin makes a Danish dangle

When Denmark met Finland in the first game of the 2010 World Championship in Cologne, it was a more important game for the underdog Danes than the Finns, who would likely have the easier time of advancing to the Qualification Round. As well, the Finns had never lost to Demark in their only four previous WM meetings. But on this night at Lanxess Arena, the stars were aligned in Denmark’s favour, thanks in part to one of its greatest stars, Peter Regin, scoring a highlight-reel goal. The Danes scored just 2:20 into the game to take an early lead, and three minutes later Regin got the puck in centre ice in full flight. He cut to the left and looked to be going outside defenceman Sami Vatanen, but just when it looked like Vatanen was going to make a nice hip check, Regin cut inside and blew by him. He then made a move on goalie Pekka Rinne and roofed home a backhander. Denmark went on to win, 4-1, and advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time in history. 

Norway's Mathis Olimb pulls a Forsberg

The first ever penalty-shot goal for Norway at the World Championship didn’t come until 13 May 2010, but it was a beauty. Coming on the final day of the preliminary round robin, it also helped Norway to a crucial win over France. Both teams were trying to avoid the Relegation Round, but on this day it was simple – winner advances to the Qualification Round; loser goes to relegation. France scored early, and that goal held up until midway through the second, but the Norwegians scored three times early in the third to take control. Nevertheless, Mathis Olimb was hooked by Yohann Auvitu late in the game and was awarded a penalty shot. He skated in on goalie Fabrice Lhenry, moved left, and then with one hand – a la Peter Forsberg – slid the puck into the back side of the goal. A gem of a goal that punctuated a 5-1 win. Norway narrowly missed a spot in the quarter-finals, but this goal remains a highlight of the entire tournament. 

Rachunek's equalizer with seven seconds to go

The final weekend of the 2010 World Championship in Cologne could not have been scripted any better. The semi-finals featured three of the top nations – Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden – as well as a surprise appearance by hosts Germany. Russia squeaked by with a 2-1 win, but the other game went into overtime thanks to late heroics from Karel Rachunek of the Czech Republic. Sweden scored first, only to see Tomas Mojzis tie the game before the end of the first period. Sweden scored midway through the second and then did what it does better than any other nation – played stifling hockey with the lead. Try as they might, the Czechs could amount precious little offence, and as time wound down, goalie Tomas Vokoun raced to the bench for an extra attacker. The Czechs got the puck deep in the Sweden end, and Jakub Voracek threw a blind pass in front. Incredibly, it went by several players, and Rachunek moved in and wired a shot through traffic that found the back of the net. Eight seconds from defeat, they had tied the game. Jan Marek scored the winner in OT and the Czechs then beat Russia, 2-1, to win gold, a win made possible by Rachunek’s dramatic tying score in the semi-finals.

Alexei Kaigorodov sneaks one through against Canada

It’s always a great World Championship when Russia and Canada play a game late in the tournament, but in 2011 that meeting came a bit early for most fans’ tastes—the quarter-finals. All the same, it was another classic decided by one goal, but the difference was a remarkable solo effort by Alexei Kaigorodov. Jason Spezza broke a scoreless tie with a goal early in the second period, and that marker held up until midway through the third. Canada was on the power play, looking to double its lead and take control of the game, but Kaigorodov had other ideas. He got to a loose puck deep in his end and pushed the puck between the legs of defenceman Brent Burns to get it out of the zone. He then made the same move again, slipping the puck between the skates of Jason Spezza in the centre-ice area and moved in on goal as Dion Phaneuf gave chase. Kaigorodov got off a great snapshot over the shoulder of Jonathan Bernier to tie the game with a short-handed gem. Three minutes later, Ilya Kovalchuk scored at even strength, and the Russians advanced to the semis with a 2-1 win.

Finland's Mikael Granlund scores "The Goal"

Drafted 9th overall by the Minnesota Wild in 2010, Mikael Granlund played the 2010-11 season with his Finnish club team, HIFK, before joining Suomi for the World Championship in Slovakia. The Finns had their usual early success and then beat Norway, 4-1, in the quarter-finals to set up a semis date with Russia. Early in the second period of that elimination game, the score was still 0-0 with a faceoff in the Russian end. The 19-year-old Granlund chased the puck into the corner and stripped Dmitri Kalinin of it with expert skill, and raced around the goal. He eluded the other defenceman, Dmitri Kulikov, and as soon as he moved past him Granlund twisted his stick and flipped the puck onto the blade. He came out the other side of the goal and with a lacrosse move roofed the puck over goalie Konstantin Barulin. It turned out to be the deciding goal in a 3-0 win, and Finland went on to win only its second WM gold, but that goal remains arguably the most thrilling goal in World Championship history, and certainly one of the most watched in IIHF history.

Miro's shorty downs Czechs in Semis

Slovakia made its historic mark at the 2002 World Championship, winning gold with its greatest lineup ever. Ten years later, not much was expected of it, so when the Slovaks advanced to the WM semi-finals after stunning Canada, 4-3, in the quarters, they had already vastly exceeded expectations. In the semis, though, they faced the Czechs, their greatest adversary, and the game lived up to its hype. Teams split goals in the first two periods, but Miroslav Satan scored his second of the game in the first minute of the third period thanks to two incredible plays. A penalty late in the second to Mario Bliznak put the Czechs on a power play to start the third, but both defencemen gambled trying to get a loose puck in the Slovakia end and lost. Michal Handzus made an incredible dive to clear the puck, and Satan got to it before anyone else and roared up ice. With two Czech hounding him, he made a quick and brilliant deke on Jakub Kovar, sliding the puck in for a 2-1 lead short-handed. Slovakia went on to win, 3-1, and advanced to the gold-medal game.

Petri Kontiola picks one out of the air

It’s difficult to say that the opening goal for Finland at the 2013 World Championship in Helsinki had huge significance. But it was one of the top goals of the tournament all the same because of its uniqueness of skills. Midway through the first period of a scoreless game, Petri Kontiola came in over the Germany blue line and dropped the puck to Janne Pesonen. Pesonen took a quick shot that hit a stick, and the puck wobbled in the air towards goalie Rob Zepp. But Kontiola, going to the net, played the puck in mid-air, batted it across the crease, and then batted it into the goal with a second whack before Zepp could get his left pad over to cover the far post. 

Giroux back to Seguin for Canada

When the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated early in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, captain Sidney Crosby called Team Canada’s management staff of the World Championship and asked to play. That paved the way for one of the most dominant Canadian gold medals in IIHF history, punctuated by a one-sided 6-1 win over Russia in the gold-medal game. Canada steamrolled to a 3-0 lead midway through the game and then made it 4-0 at 8:06 of the middle period on an incredible passing play between Claude Giroux and Tyler Seguin. The play started with an sensational backhand pass from defenceman Tyson Barrie to Giroux. He battled the bobbling puck and two Russians all the way to the goal, but just when it looked like he’d shoot, he curled to the corner and fired a pass out front where Seguin was roaring to. The puck went between Viktor Antipin’s skates and onto Seguin’s stick, and he fired the disc into the open side for a sensational goal and an insurmountable lead.
During the 100-year anniversary of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship we bring you the top-100 moments in stories, photos and videos in 10 days. Check out more by clicking the chapters below: