WJC Game Night: 1/3

World Junior Championships - Semifinals
Canada 6 vs. Russia 5 (Shootout)
W Dana Tyrell, CAN: Did not play (injured - out for tournament).
G Dustin Tokarski, CAN: Win, 23 saves on 28 shots


Another WJC classic, this time with Canada giving up four one-goal leads, then scrambling back to tie the game with just over five seconds left on a goal by Edmonton prospect Jordan Eberle - his second of the game. After a scoreless 10 minute 4-on-4 overtime, Tokarski stopped two Russian shooters and Eberle got the winner for Canada in the shootout to send Canada on to a 6-5 victory and the Gold Medal Game vs. Sweden.

Tokarski was lauded for his heroics by some teammates for making two shootout stops and some big saves in the game, but for the second straight game he was no where near the Dustin Tokarski WHL fans are used to. He again gave up goals he shouldn't have and is no sure thing to start the Gold Medal Game as Canada's coach Pat Quinn wouldn't commit to using him over Chet Pickard against the Swedes. Canada is used to MVP performances from their WJC goaltenders like Steve Mason (Columbus) and Carey Price (Montreal), and Tokarski hasn't been close to that level - aside from a few saves.

It's hard to say at this point if he'll be remembered for his highlight reel saves and shootout stops (and wins, obviously), or the goals he should have stopped which kept both the USA and Russia games closer than they should have been. He may owe Eberle more than a late Christmas gift because if not for that game tier, Tokarski would be the subject of harsh criticism today.

But he won the latest biggest game of his career and may have redeemed himself with his final shootout stop.

As the Toronto Star