Friday’s all-Canadian semifinal at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge marks the fifth time in seven tournaments that Canada East and Canada West will meet.
Here’s how the first four meetings played out:
2006 GOLD MEDAL GAME – CANADA WEST 4, CANADA EAST 3
YORKTON, Sask. – Jordie Johnston scored the first two goals as Canada West jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the game before holding off a late Canada East push and earning a victory to win the first World Junior A Challenge gold medal.
The Canadian entries were the class of the inaugural tournament, both going unbeaten in the preliminary round and earning semifinal wins to set up the all-Canadian final.
Tyler McNeely and Casey Pierro-Zabotel had the other goals for Canada West, while Kyle Turris and Evan Oberg added two assists each. Turris’ two helpers capped off an 11-point tournament and earned the future first-round NHL pick MVP honours.
David Kostuch scored twice and Jeff Terminesi added one for Canada East, which pulled to within a goal with 4:06 to go, but could not complete the monumental comeback.
2007 GOLD MEDAL GAME – CANADA WEST 4, CANADA EAST 1
TRAIL, B.C. – It was a pair of future NHL draft picks that led the way for Canada West as it won its second consecutive World Junior A Challenge gold medal, beating Canada East.
The teams took a different route to the gold medal game than they had one year earlier; both lost preliminary round games – Canada West to Russia, Canada East to the United States – and were forced to take the long way to the final, through the quarter-finals.
Zac Dalpe, a second-round pick of Carolina in 2008, was the offensive star for Canada West, scoring a hat trick, including two on the power play, while Joe Colborne, the 16th player selected by Boston in the 2008 draft, scored the other goal.
Corey Trivino had the lone goal for Canada East, opening the scoring less than seven minutes in, but that would be the lone puck to beat Canada West goaltender Bradley Eidsness.
2009 SEMIFINAL – CANADA WEST 9, CANADA EAST 1
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Cody Kunyk scored a hat trick and added an assist as Canada West equaled the largest margin of victory in World Junior A Challenge history with a semifinal romp over Canada East.
The line of Kunyk alongside twins Connor and Kellen Jones combined for 11 points in the victory – in addition to Kunyk’s four points, Connor Jones tied a tournament record with five points (two goals, three assists) and Kellen Jones chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Mathew Bodie, Cam Reid and Daniel Carr also scored for Canada West, which scored the game’s final eight goals, including five in the second period, when Connor Jones set a record with four points.
Jeff Vanderlugt had the goal for Canada East, tying the game 1-1 late in the first period, although the tie lasted only 46 seconds before Kunyk’s first goal gave Canada West the lead for good.
2011 GOLD MEDAL GAME – CANADA WEST 4, CANADA EAST 2
LANGLEY, B.C. – Tournament all-star Alex Kerfoot had a goal and an assist to give Canada West the lead and Carson Cooper tipped in the game-winner early in the third period as the westerners won their third World Junior A Challenge gold medal with a victory over Canada East.
Evan Richardson and Aaron Hadley scored the other goals for Canada West, which joined the United States as the only three-time gold medallists in tournament history.
Michael Neville and Daniel Milne had the goals for Canada East, which was left with the silver medal for the fourth time in six World Junior A Challenges, with three of those at the hands of Canada West.
The two teams combined for just one penalty – a slashing minor against Canada East’s Tyson Spink that led to Cooper’s winning goal – setting a pair of tournament records: fewest penalty minutes by one team (0, by Canada West) and fewest combined penalty minutes by both teams (two).