by Michel Belanger
December 21, 2013, TRENTINO, Italy (ISN) – Canada captured gold in men’s hockey on the 12th and final day of the 26th Winter Universiade, on Saturday, to finish the biennial competition with eight medals, including two gold, three silver and three bronze.
In addition to the men’s hockey triumph, the red and white delegation claimed gold in women’s hockey, had five podium finishes in short track speed skating (0-3-2), and also merited bronze in men’s curling.
It marks the best tally for the Canadian contingent at the winter world university games since 2003 in Tarvisio, Italy (2-5-3) and a three-medal improvement from 2011 in Erzurum, Turkey (1-3-1).
In today’s men’s final, team captain Chris Culligan from the University of New Brunswick had two goals and an assist as Canada dominated Kazakhstan 6-2 to capture its fourth FISU title.
The team of all-stars from the Atlantic University Sport conference, which edged defending two-time champion Russia 2-1 in Friday’s semifinals, wrapped up the biennial tournament with a 5-1 overall mark. The only blemish on its record was a 4-2 round-robin loss to Kazakhstan last Sunday.
The Canadian men, who have now claimed 13 medals (4-3-6) in 14 all-time appearances at the event, had previously triumphed at the FISU Games in 1981 in Jaca, Spain (University of Alberta Golden Bears), 1991 in Sapporo, Japan (senior national team) and 2007 in Turin, Italy (AUS all-stars).
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. What can you say?,” said Team Canada head coach Gardiner MacDougall from UNB, who was an assistant coach with the 2007 gold medal-winning squad. “We had a slogan BIW and the guys figured it out as we went on our journey – be the best in the world. How often do you become the best in the world in anything you do? In this case, this is a Canadian passion, hockey. The guys should be very, very proud.”
“Like I said yesterday, the last two games we’ve been coming along really well as a group, the chemistry’s been great both off and on the ice,” added Culligan. “It’s great to be a world champion. It’s one of those things where everyone has to come together in such a short time, one of those things you can’t really explain. It’s a feeling you get, it’s something you’ll never forget and to do it with these guys and to be the person that represents them as their captain is such an honour. I’m really, really trilled right now!”
The gold-medal final was a stark contrast to Friday’s defensive battle against Russia.
Kazakhstan stunned Canada with a goal only 14 seconds in but the AUS standouts responded with three markers in a span of three minutes and 37 seconds to take a 3-1 lead after only 7:16 of play.
The Canadians all but put the game away with two more unanswered goals in the second period and added one more early in the third before their rivals found the back of the net again.
Taking advantage of its opponent’s lack of discipline, the Red & White connected twice on 11 power-play opportunities, both times with two men up, and finished with a 54-21 advantage in shots on goal, including a 26-10 margin in the first, 18-5 in the second and 10-6 in the third.
Acadia’s Mike Cazzola, StFX’s Josh Day, UPEI’s Matthew Maione and UNB’s Nick MacNeil also scored in the win.
Saint Mary’s netminder Anthony Peters of Blyth, Ont., turned aside 19 pucks for his fourth victory in as many starts at the competition.
Canada also competed in snowboarding and cross-country skiing on the final day of the Trentino Games.
In snowboarding, Audrey McManiman of St. Ambroise de Kildare, Que., and Tamara Truchon of Quebec City barely missed the podium in the slopestyle event, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
McManiman, a CEGEP Garneau student, was first after the qualifications thanks to a score of 74.25 in her first run but settled for a 51.50 in the final, leaving her behind Natalie Good of New Zealand (81.25) and Swiss teammates Carla Somaini (78.25) and Caroline Hoeckel (74.75).
Fourth in the qualifications with a best score of 61.50, Truchon from Laval University dropped one spot in the final after posting a 34.25.
In cross-country, Harry Seaton, a Lakehead University student from Orillia, Ont., was the best of five Canadians in the men’s 30km classic mass start with a 36th-place finish (1:31:14.7).
The 27th Winter Universiade will be held in 2015 in Granada, Spain.
Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/winter/2013/index
Trentino 2013 website:http://www.universiadetrentino.org/en
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21 RESULTS
Men’s 30km Classic Mass Start
1. Vladislav Skobelev, Russia, 1:23:14.12; 2. Ermil Vokuev, Russia, 1:23:16.6; 3. Andrey Feller, Russia, 1:23:18.8; 36. Harry Seaton, Orillia, Ont., 1:31:14.7; 52. Jordan Cascagnette, Penetanguishene, Ont., 1:34:36.6; 54. Matthias Purdon, Owen Sound, Ont., 1:34:50.1; 55. Peter Beisel, Owen Sound, Ont., 1:35:49.4; 64. Lee Hawkings, Whitehorse, Yukon, 1:42:19.8.
Canada (5-1) wins 6-2 over Kazakhstan (5-1) in final.
Women’s Slopestyle Qualification Runs
1. Audrey McManiman, St. Ambroise de Kildare, Que., 74.25, advances to final; 4. Tamara Truchon, Quebec City, Que., 61.50, advances to final; 12. Anne-Frédérique Grenier, Beaupré, Que., 31.25, does not advance, finishes 12th overall.
Women’s Slopestyle Final
1. Natalie Good, New Zealand, 81.25; 2. Carla Somaini, Switzerland, 78.25; 3. Caroline Hoeckel, Switzerland, 74.75; 4. Audrey McManiman, St. Ambroise de Kildare, Que., 51.50; 5. Tamara Truchon, Quebec City, Que., 34.25.
About the Winter Universiade
The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event. The competition program of the Trentino Universiade includes alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey (women & men), nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating (short & long track).
About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 55 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on: