Team Canada West capped off its 2018 World Junior A Challenge with a bronze medal, defeating the Czech Republic 3-1 at the R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville on Sunday.
After suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to the United States in the semifinals, Team Canada West rebounded in the bronze medal game by opening the scoring just under two minutes into the first period when alternate captain Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL) jammed home his own rebound off a pass from Layton Ahac (North Vancouver, B.C./Prince George, BCHL). Ethan Leyh (Port Moody, B.C/Langley, BCHL) increased Canada’s lead to two just over five minutes later, with Ahac and David Silye (Arnprior, Ont./Penticton, BCHL) picking up assists.
“Obviously we were upset after the game yesterday, but we just had to regroup because we wanted to go home with a medal,” said Holloway. “The big thing for us was to keep our heads up, be positive on the bench and throughout the game and just play our best for the bronze.”
Michal Teply tipped home a point shot and pulled the Czech Republic within one with just over six minutes remaining in the third period before Holloway fired home his second goal with 4:39 to play, securing bronze for Team Canada West. Alternate captain Alex Newhook (St. John’s, N.L/Victoria, BCHL) picked up the lone assist on Canada’s third goal.
“Our guys knew that today was all about Canadian pride. We had the privilege of wearing [the Maple Leaf] on the front, it’s the last time these guys are going to be together and we’ve grown such a tremendous amount and we’ve become close,” said head coach Rick Swan (Sherwood Park, Alta./Bonnyville, AJHL). “Ultimately, we finished strong and made sure we left the right impression. They gave everything that they had today and I’m proud of them.”
Goaltender Matthew Radomsky (Winnipeg/Steinbach, MJHL) made 46 saves on his way to his second win of the tournament and Player of the Game honours for Team Canada West.
In the gold medal game, the United States downed Russia 2-0 to claim gold for the eighth time. Bobby Brink, who was named WJAC MVP, and Trevor Janicke led the offence with a goal apiece, while goaltender Isaiah Saville recorded a 25-save shutout.
Following the gold medal game, the 2018 World Junior A Challenge all-star team was announced:
- Goaltender: Yaroslav Askarov (Russia)
- Defence: Ronnie Attard (United States)
- Defence: T.J. Lloyd (Team Canada West)
- Forward: Bobby Brink (United States)
- Forward: Ilya Nikolaev (Russia)
- Forward: Vasily Podkolzin (Russia)
The 2018 World Junior A Challenge represents a partnership between Hockey Canada, the Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Alberta, as well as the local host organizing committee and NHL Central Scouting.