01/06/2015 07:16 EST | Updated 03/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Data shows average audience of 7.1 million Canadians watched gold medal game

TORONTO - The Canada-Russia gold medal game at the world junior hockey championship was a ratings hit for The Sports Network.

Preliminary overnight data indicated an average audience of 7.1 million Canadians watched Canada's 5-4 victory Monday night, making it the most-watched specialty television broadcast in Canada. Audience levels on TSN and RDS peaked at 9.7 million viewers in the game's dying seconds as Canada held on for the victory at Air Canada Centre, the network said in a release.

"Team Canada's gold medal performance at the world juniors has once again inspired fans across the country, and this massive audience demonstrates that fan engagement in the tournament has reached staggering new heights," said TSN president Stewart Johnston. "Everyone at TSN is so proud to showcase the drama and excitement of this incredible tournament for viewers in Canada and around the world."

The ratings were six per cent higher than the network's previous best for a world junior game. About 6.7 million viewers watched in 2011 when Canada dropped a 5-3 decision to Russia in the final.

A new ratings measurement system was introduced a few years ago that has seen sports TV ratings skyrocket.