Igor Bobkov had one thing on his mind Thursday morning – sleep.
The London Knights goaltender arrived back in town after coming off the bench midway through the second period to help spark Russia to a comeback 5-3 win over Canada in the world junior hockey final the night before in Buffalo. He dropped off his equipment at the John Labatt Centre and was off for some shuteye after celebrating until the early hours of Thursday morning.
They may have overdone it – his teammates were removed from their flight Thursday morning to Atlanta, the first leg of their journey home, for being intoxicated. Bobkov, though, was driven back to London by Knights assistant general manager Jim McKellar.
Any hangover, however, would have been tempered by the gold medal he proudly held as he talked to the media at the JLC.
“I’m happy. I’m proud of myself and my parents are proud of me. I’m a world champion, what can I say? It’s awesome,” he said. “When we scored the first goal, I knew we were so close.”
He was named Russia’s player of the game, but that wasn’t in his thoughts.
“When you’re a champion, you don’t think about being player of the game,” he said. “I was just happy for my teammates. Before the tournament, when I went to sleep I always thought about if we won this game, what I was supposed to do on the ice. But what happens is the team lands on you and you just fall.”
Bobkov said his teammates never gave up hope, even trailing 3-0 after two periods. “We always believe. It doesn’t matter what the numbers were on the (scoreboard). We just needed to believe. And in this tournament, we believe in this rule: You can’t beat one team twice in the tournament.”