LEKSAND, Sweden (CP) - Canada won a third straight world junior hockey championship and its first in Europe in a decade with a 4-2 win over Russia in Friday's final.

After taking the title in Vancouver last year and in Grand Forks, N.D., in 2005, the challenge for this Canadian squad was to win it outside North America. The country hadn't done so since 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland.

"It's unbelievable, a great feeling," Canadian forward Jonathan Toews said. "Tonight was a battle from start to finish. The Russians are a great team but we came out hard and finished hard, too."

Canada rode its excellent goaltending, defencemen and special teams to the final and the only question mark then was whether the team could produce enough goals at even-strength against the skilled and speedy Russians.

The Canadians were snakebitten in their semifinal against the U.S. and won that game 2-1 via a shootout.