Russia wins gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

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(ISN) – SARNIA, Ont. – For the third time, Russia has won the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, edging the United States 2-1 in Saturday night’s gold medal game at the RBC Centre.

Russia previously captured the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2000 and 2012.

On Saturday night, Maxim Bain and Alexander Yakovenko scored goals, and Maxim Kalyayev made 21 saves for the Russians, who held the tournament-leading American offence to just 16 shots and a single goal.

Bain opened the scoring off a U.S. turnover with two minutes left in the first period and Yakovenko hammered a slap shot off the post and in close to six minutes into the second, giving the Russians all the offence they would need.

Max Jones finally broke through for the Americans with 90 seconds remaining, but a frantic finish with goaltender Jake Oettinger on the bench for an extra attacker couldn’t produce the game-tying goal, leaving the United States with its seventh silver medal (1994, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014), more than any team in tournament history.

Earlier Saturday, Sweden won the bronze medal with a 3-1 victory over Finland. Linus Weissbach, William Fällström and Oskar Steen scored goals for the Swedes, who claimed their fifth medal ever at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, along with gold in 2013, silver in 1988 and 1997, and bronze in 2010.

Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced.

2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge all-star team:
Goaltender: Filip Gustavsson (Sweden)
Defence: Jake Bean (Canada Black)
Defence: Chad Krys (United States)
Forward: Max Jones (United States)
Forward: Clayton Keller (United States)
Forward: Dmitri Sokolov (Russia)

The 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge brought together the top players in the world born in 1998 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who competed at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.

Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,300 NHL draft picks have played, including 11 of the last 14 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014).

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