PORT ALBERNI, BC – Six teams have seen their gold medal hopes vanish, now only four remain in the quest for the big prize at the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
After an exciting five days of preliminary round action, the semifinal match-ups are set for Saturday: Ontario will face West at 3 p.m. PST, while the United States will take on Pacific at 7 p.m. PST. Both games will take place at the Alberni Valley Multiplex.
Ontario won its 13th consecutive game at the tournament and earned top spot in Group A with a 6-3 win over previously unbeaten Pacific in Port Alberni. Christian Thomas, Stephen Silas, John McFarland, Gregg Sutch, Ryan Spooner and Tyler Toffoli all scored goals in the victory, while Tyler Seguin added three assists.
In Parksville, BC, the United States wrapped up first place in Group B with a convincing 7-0 win over West in another battle of unbeatens. Seven different players scored for the Americans, who outscored their opposition 29-5 in four preliminary round games.
FINAL STANDINGS – GROUP A
FINAL STANDINGS – GROUP B
1. United States
Three of the four teams remaining have previously won the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge – Ontario leads the way with six gold medals, including last year in London, ON, when it defeated the United States in the gold medal game. The U.S. has won the event twice (2001, 2002), while West was crowned champion in 1995. Pacific has never won gold, although it has reached the gold medal game on four occasions (2001, 2001, 2004, 2005).
The semifinal winners will meet for the gold medal on Sunday night at the Alberni Valley Multiplex (5 p.m. PST). The game can be seen LIVE on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada. The semifinal losers will play for bronze on Sunday afternoon (AVM, 12 p.m. PST).
Final standings will also be decided on Saturday in three other games. Quebec and Germany meet for fifth place in Port Alberni at 11 a.m. PST, while it will be Russia vs. Slovakia for seventh place (2 p.m. PST) and Atlantic vs. Finland for ninth (7 p.m. PST). The games for seventh and ninth will both be played at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo, BC.
Media inquiries can be directed to Jason La Rose, who is on site at the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He can be reached at 403-703-8791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.