WINDSOR, Ont. – For the first time since 2000, Russia has won the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, defeating the United States 7-4 in Wednesday night’s gold medal game at the WFCU Centre in Windsor.
Sergei Tolchinski scored a hat trick to lead the offence, including a shorthanded penalty shot goal early in the third period to make it a 4-2 game. It’s the second year in a row the Americans have allowed a penalty shot goal in the third period of the gold medal game.
Valeri Nichushkin added two goals and an assist for the Russians, while Nikita Serebryakov finished with 45 saves to record his second win of the tournament against the Americans. Serebryakov stopped 96 of 102 shots in his two wins over the U.S.; he had 51 saves in a 3-2 victory during the preliminary round.
Nikita Cherepanov and captain Ivan Barbashev also scored for Russia, which last won the U17 gold medal 12 years ago in Timmins, Ont., when Ilya Kovalchuk led it to a 2-0 gold medal game win over Ontario.
Evan Allen, Will Butcher, J.T. Compher and Anthony Louis scored the goals for the United States, which finished as runner-up for the sixth time; it also won silver in 1994, 1998, 2006, 20.
Earlier Wednesday, Ontario won the bronze medal with a 5-2 win over Sweden. Max Domi scored twice for Ontario to lead a four-goal third period that erased a one-goal deficit after 40 minutes. Bo Horvat, Jordan Subban and Nick Baptiste had the other goals for Ontario, which won a medal for the fifth straight time at the tournament.
Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced, as selected by Kevin Prendergast, Hockey Canada’s head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence.
2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge all-star team:
Goaltender: Nikita Serebryakov (Russia)
Defence: Gage Ausmus (United States)
Defence: Darnell Nurse (Ontario)
Forward: J.T. Compher (United States)
Forward: Victor Öhman (Sweden)
Forward: Sergei Tolchinski (Russia)
The 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge brings together the top players in the world born in 1995 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete 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.
Eighteen of the 22 players who were selected for Canada’s National Junior Team and are currently playing in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta played at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and alumni of the tournament include past NHL first-overall picks Marc-André Fleury, Taylor Hall, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares and Joe Thornton.