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Russia’s Junior Miracle on Ice

By January 5, 2011

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Russia celebrates World Junior

Maybe it doesn't rank up there with the Summit Series or the Miracle on Ice.

But the story of Russia's victory at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship is the stuff of legend.

The Russian juniors pulled off a heart-stopping comeback against Finland in the quarterfinal. (Down 3-1 with 3:41 to go.)

They did it again in the semifinal (Down 3-2 to Sweden with 1:27 left.)

Then they put together the biggest comeback of them all against their arch rivals.

Canada had a 3-0 lead in Wednesday's championship game before an explosive third-period attack gave Russia a 5-3 win and the Gold Medal.

Fans of the World Junior tournament know it delivers high drama just about every year, and this year's three-pronged Russian charge was as dramatic as any we've ever seen.

For Canada, it was an embarrassing collapse, and the continuation of an equally embarrassing subplot.

For all their success at the tournament, Canadian teams have blown a lot of leads over the years, usually at the worst possible moments.

A World Junior title hardly represents revenge for the thumping Canada gave Russia at the Vancouver Olympics.

But regardless of where their careers go from here, this Russian group has added a glowing chapter to the country's storied hockey history.

Postscript: Team USA, the 2010 champion, beat Sweden 4-2 to win the Bronze Medal.

(Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

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