(ISN) – KINDERSLEY, Sask. – For the sixth time in the tournament’s nine-year history, and the third year in a row, the United States has won the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge, defeating Denmark 3-2 in overtime in Saturday’s gold medal game at the West Central Events Centre in Kindersley.
Thomas Novak was the overtime hero for the Americans, scoring on the power play at 4:56 of the extra period to give the U.S. the gold medal and its record 13th consecutive victory at the tournament; it won the bronze medal game at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge in Langley, B.C., and went a perfect 4-0 the last two years in Yarmouth, N.S., before this year’s unblemished run.
Novak’s goal spoiled the performance of Danish goaltender George Sorensen, who set a World Junior A Challenge record with 60 saves, breaking the old mark of 55 set at the 2006 tournament by Belarus netminder Anton Mitskevich.
Mason Bergh tied the game for the U.S. with just 1:43 remaining, setting up Novak’s heroics. Brock Boeser had the other goal for the Americans, who erased a pair of one-goal deficits. Novak was in on all three U.S. goals, adding two assists to his game-winner, while Boeser had a goal and a helper.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored his tournament-leading sixth goal just 33 seconds in to give Denmark an early 1-0 lead, and set up Oliver Bjorkstrand on a two-man advantage early in the third period for the other Danish goal. Ehlers finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with nine points (six goals, three assists).
On Friday, Ilya Samsonov made 46 saves to lead Russia past Canada East 2-0 in the bronze medal game. Samsonov set a tournament record for saves in a shutout, besting the old record of 44 by Sweden’s Oscar Dansk in 2011. Kirill Kaprizov and Denis Guryanov scored the goals for the Russians.
Also Friday, Sandro Forrer and Tino Kessler scored 50 seconds apart in the third period, helping Switzerland erase a 2-0 deficit and edge Canada West 3-2 in the fifth-place game. Romain Chuard also scored for the Swiss, while Sheldon Rempal (Calgary, Alta./Nanaimo, BCHL) accounted for both Canadian goals.
Following Saturday’s gold medal game, the World Junior A Challenge MVP award and tournament all-star team were announced:
World Junior A Challenge MVP:
Nikolaj Ehlers (Denmark)
Tournament All-Star Team:
Goaltender: Eric Schierhorn (United States)
Defence: Callum Fryer (Canada East)
Defence: Christian Wolanin (United States)
Forward: Nikolaj Ehlers (Denmark)
Forward: Denis Guryanov (Russia)
Forward: Thomas Novak (United States)