(WGR 550) – Three Buffalo Sabres players walked away from the 2023 World Championship with gold medal, and another with a silver medal.
Canada beat Germany, 5-2, getting key contributions from Peyton Krebs and Jack Quinn in the tournament. Devon Levi only played one game in Latvia, which was a 5-2 win over Slovenia.
Sabres winger JJ Peterka won the silver medal, scoring his sixth goal of the tournament on Sunday, tying him for fourth in the championship. Peterka’s 12 points were second overall, only two points behind Rocco Grimaldi from Team USA.
Peterka was chosen as the tournament's best forward and was also a First-Team All-Star.
Peterka opened the scoring in the Gold Medal Game, but Krebs helped tie it at 1-1 by sprinting past a defender, creating a 2-on-0 rush. The Sabres center gave Sammy Blais (St. Louis Blues) a perfect pass for a tap-in.
Now trailing Germany 2-1 and on the power play, it was Krebs again making a play for Canada. He made a huge hustle play to keep the puck in. After passing the puck around the zone, Krebs found Lawson Crouse in the middle for a tip and it was 2-2.
Goals by Blais and Tyler Toffoli (Calgary Fames) made it 4-2, and Quinn just wouldn’t be denied the puck before feeding the Scott Laughton (Philadelphia Flyers) for the empty netter.
Quinn finished the tournament with two goals and five assists for seven points in 10 games. Krebs had one goal and four assists for five points, and really came on once he was moved back to center.
This was a tournament where Canada slipped at just the right time. They lost to Switzerland, which is no embarrassment, but then lost to Norway in a shootout. That was the huge embarrassment.
It seems like the teams that do trip up for a game or two in the preliminary round tend to do well later. Canada won their next five and never looked back.
Sam Montembeault (Montreal Canadiens) put up some solid numbers in the tournament, going 6-1-0 with a 1.42 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. His goals-against average ranked him second, while his save percentage was third.
As Peterka got his silver medal put around his neck, you could see he was taking the loss very hard. Quinn and Krebs were right next to each other in the hand shake line, and I’m sure they hugged their Sabres teammate.
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Team USA went into the weekend a perfect 8-0-0, but they did the same thing on Saturday and Sunday. On both days, they had a one-goal third period lead late and lost both games in overtime ending up with no medal.
Canada ended up 8-1-1, while Germany lost their first three games, won six in-a-row, and then lost on Sunday.
Casey DeSmith (Pittsburgh Penguins) needed to make a save on both overtime goals against Germany and Latvia, which won them the bronze medal on Sunday. It was Latvia’s first medal won at the IIHF World Championship.
Alex Tuch was one of Team USA’s better players, scoring five goals and three assists for eight points in 10 games. He was their third-leading scorer.