INNSBRUCK, Austria – Canada has won the bronze medal in men’s hockey at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, defeating the United States 7-5 in Saturday’s third-place game.
Reid Gardiner (Humboldt, Sask./Saskatoon Contacts, SMAAAHL) scored once and added four assists for the Canadians, who scored four goals in a span of 4:13 midway through the second period to turn a 3-2 lead into a 7-2 advantage.
Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, B.C./Okanagan Hockey Academy, Midget AAA) finished with a hat trick, while Eric Cornel (Kemptville, Ont./Upper Canada, OEMHL) and Ryan Pilon (Duck Lake, Sask./Beardy’s, SMAAAHL) had a goal and an assist each.
Adam Brooks (Winnipeg, Man./Winnipeg Thrashers, MMAAAHL) had the other goal for Canada and goaltender Keven Bouchard (Métabetchouan, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ) made 35 saves as the Canadians were outshot 37-19 by the Americans.
Canada finished second in the preliminary round with a 3-1 record, including wins over the United States (5-1), Austria (9-0) and Finland (3-2 shootout) and a loss to Russia (4-3), but was defeated 2-1 by the Finns in Friday’s semifinal.
Gardiner was Canada’s leading scorer with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in six games, while Gropp’s six goals led the team.
Canada's players were assembled from nominations from Hockey Canada's 13 branches to form a long list. The roster was then selected via a random draw from this long list, with at least one player from each of Hockey Canada's 13 branches, to form the 17-player roster. Each branch submitted three players to the nomination list: a goaltender, defenceman and forward.
In addition to one player from each branch, Canada's entry includes two from BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Hockey Quebec and the Ontario Hockey Federation, the most populous branches. Canada's 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games roster consists of two goaltenders, six defencemen and nine forwards.
The 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games are the first of their kind, bringing together young athletes from around the world to participate in a unique cultural experience and international sporting competition. The men’s hockey bronze medal brings Canada’s total to five medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze).
Players and staff will return to Canada on Monday, Jan. 23.