YARMOUTH, N.S. – For the fifth time in the tournament’s eight-year history, and the second year in a row, the United States has won the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge, defeating Russia 4-1 in Sunday’s gold medal game at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth.
The win set a tournament record for consecutive victories, with nine; the Americans won the bronze medal game at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge in Langley, B.C., and went a perfect 4-0 last year in Yarmouth before this year’s unblemished run.
Kyle Connor broke a 1-1 tie with just 14 seconds left in the second period to give the Americans the lead for good in Sunday’s final. Karson Kuhlman, Andrew Oglevie and C.J. Franklin had the other goals for the U.S., which got points from nine different players in the win.
Nick Schmaltz added an assist on Connor’s game-winner, giving him a record-setting 12 points in the tournament, surpassing the record set by Kyle Turris in 2006, and Mike Connolly in 2007. He also tied the record for assists in a tournament, with eight, equaling the mark set by U.S. defenceman Ian Brady last year.
Yegor Korchkov scored the lone goal for Russia, which was in the gold medal game for the first time ever. The Russians have won three medals in eight trips to the tournament; they earned the bronze medal in 2006 and 2009, in addition to this year’s silver.
On Saturday, Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, B.C./Merritt, BCHL) scored the winner with 2:19 to go, helping Canada West to a 5-3 win over Switzerland in the bronze medal game. Nicholas Jones (Edmonton, Alta./Sherwood Park, AJHL), Steen Cooper (Duncan, B.C./Cowichan Valley, BCHL), Paul Stoykewych (Winnipeg, Man./Penticton, BCHL) and Dylan Hollman (Red Deer, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) had the other Canadian goals.
Also Saturday, Pavel Jenys scored twice and Adam Zboril had four points to lead the Czech Republic to a 7-5 victory over Canada East in the fifth-place game in Liverpool, N.S. Marly Quince (Thunder Bay, Ont./Cornwall, CCHL) and Kelly Summers (Golden Lake, Ont./Carleton Place, CCHL) had two goals and an assist apiece to lead Canada East.
Following Sunday’s gold medal game, the World Junior A Challenge MVP award and tournament all-star team were announced:
World Junior A Challenge MVP:
Nick Schmaltz (United States)
Tournament All-Star Team:
Goaltender: Maxim Tretiak (RUS)
Defence: Neal Pionk (United States)
Defence: Adam Plant (Canada West)
Forward: Connor Hurley (United States)
Forward: Kirill Pilipenko (Russia)
Forward: Nick Schmaltz (United States)
Canadian players and staff will be returning to their respective club teams on Monday, November 11.