Bonnyville, Alta. – Team Canada East settled for the silver medal Saturday night at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, dropping a 4-0 decision to the United States in the gold-medal game in front of a packed house at R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville.
It’s the fifth time Team Canada East has finished as runner-up, having also done so in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. The gold medal is the seventh in the last 10 years for the Americans.
Canadian goaltender Stefano Cantali (Montreal, Que./Longueuil, LHJQ) was a standout again, finishing with 40 saves. He played every second in the Canadian net and stopped 147 of 156 shots, a .942 save percentage. No other goaltender faced more than 111 shots.
“We played tough, and we wanted to get to the intermission even, so the one goal made a bit of a difference,” Team Canada East captain Owen Grant (Stittsville, Ont./Carleton Place, CCHL) said of the eventual game-winner late in the first period. “The message stayed the same. We knew we were in the game, and we just had to come out and work hard. But they got a couple goals on us [early in the second period] and that did it.”
“We just got beat by a better hockey team today,” said Jason Clarke, Team Canada East head coach. “I’m very, very proud of our guys and the way they handled themselves. Nobody gave us a chance coming into the tournament, and nobody thought we’d win a medal, so to be able to win silver, and be able to play the way we did through the tournament, we’re very happy.”
“What a week. This was a fantastic event that allowed us to showcase our community to the world, and share the passion for the game Bonnyville has,” said Robb Hunter, co-chair of the host organizing committee. “I cannot say thank you enough to the volunteers who gave their time, and to the fans who came out all week to support their community and the teams who put on a great show on the ice.”
On Friday night, Russia topped the Czech Republic 7-4 in the bronze-medal game. Russia forward Andrei Svechnikov had a hat trick and four points, setting an all-time tournament record for goals in a year (eight) and tying the record for points (12).
Following Saturday’s gold-medal game, the World Junior A Challenge MVP and tournament all-star team were announced:
World Junior A Challenge MVP:
Andrei Svechnikov (Russia)
Tournament All-Star Team:
Goaltender: Cayden Primeau (United States)
Defence: Owen Grant (Canada East)
Defence: Cale Makar (Canada West)
Forward: Kristian Reichel (Czech Republic)
Forward: Andrei Svechnikov (Russia)
Forward: Nick Swaney (United States)