2011 World Junior A Challenge

Three Stars of the Day
1. Alex Kerfoot (F) – Canada West
With the gold medal game scoreless into the second period, Kerfoot gave Canada West the spark it needed, setting up Evan Richardson on a two-on-none to open the scoring and adding a goal of his own eight minutes on a spectacular individual rush. The North Vancouver, B.C., native picked up his play in the playoff round, scoring the OT winner in the semifinal before his two-point performance with gold on the line.
2. Sean Maguire (G) – Canada West
It wasn’t his best game of the tournament – that came in the semifinal win over Sweden – but Maguire was solid when called upon in Sunday’s gold medal game win over Canada East, making 22 saves to help Canada West to victory. Maguire finished the tournament with a sparkling 1.49 goals against average and .942 save percentage, and was named to the World Junior A Challenge all-star team.
3. Chase McMurphy (F) – West (CJHL Prospects)
Even though East finished short of its goal of erasing a five-goal deficit and winning the President’s Cup, Wallace, a Pickering Panthers forward, did his part to help it get close, scoring twice and setting up Jesse Lussier’s goal that briefly tied the CJHL Prospects Games as East earned a 6-3 win in the second game on Sunday afternoon, but dropped an 8-6 decision to West in the two-game, total goal series.

1. Zane Gothberg (G) – United States
One year ago Gothberg was on the bench as the seconds ticked off the Americans’ gold medal game victory over Canada East, pulled early in the second period after allowing four goals in 25 minutes before watching his team come back. On Sunday, Gothberg was the man for the U.S., making 23 saves for his first WJAC shutout and helping ensure the Americans would leave with a medal for the fifth years in a row.
2. Matej Zadrazil (F) – Czech Republic
Down 3-0 after 40 minutes and staring at a sixth-place finish, Zadrazil put the Czechs on his back in the third period, scoring a pair of goals in a span of 2:16 to turn a three-goal runaway into a one-goal nail-biter, although the Czechs would come up a goal short. They outshot Russia 17-5 in the final frame, with a number of the best chances coming either off the stick of Zadrazil or from his set-ups. 
3. Austin Plevy (F) – West (CJHL Prospects)
A last-minute injury replacement for the CJHL Prospects Games, the Langley native made the most of his opportunity to impress hundreds of pro and college scouts by racking up three assists, including the lone helper on Adam Tambellini’s overtime winner, in the West victory. Plevy picked up his team’s Player of the Game award, much to the delight of the contingent of friends and family at the Langley Events Centre.

1. Devin Shore (F) – Canada East
Needing a quick start against the three-time defending gold medallist, Canada East got it from Shore, who scored a beautiful backhand-to-forehand breakaway goal to open the scoring and showed tremendous patience in tallying the insurance marker midway through the third, helping end the Americans’ reign and send East to the gold medal game for the second year in a row.
2. Alex Kerfoot (F) – Canada West
Oscar Dansk had been a tower of power for Sweden through 120 minutes of regulation time, allowing only a single goal, but Kerfoot found a chink in the Swedish netminder’s armour, chipping a shot off the post and in 2:09 into overtime for his first goal of the tournament, helping Canada West become the first team in tournament history to reach the gold medal after going 0-2 in preliminary play.
3. Sean Maguire (G) – Canada West
A hard-luck loser in his first start of the tournament, when he made 28 saves but dropped a 2-0 decision to Sweden, Maguire has been rock-solid for the Canadians ever since, allowing just two goals in wins over the Czechs and Swedes. The Powell River, B.C., native was a steadying presence again Friday in the semifinal victory over Sweden, making 28 saves, including nine in the third period when West was heavily outshot.

1. Curtis Loik (F) – Canada West
With only one goal through two games, Canada West needed someone to step up and be an offensive leader, and Loik filled that role beautifully in a 4-1 quarter-final win over the Czech Republic. The North Vancouver, B.C., native went to the net to score the game’s first goal before showing off slick moves and quick hands on the eventual game-winner, leading the West into another WJAC semifinal.
2. Andrei Vasilevski (G) – Russia
Even in defeat the Russian goaltender was a standout, stopping 49 shots to keep his team close before a pair of late goals inflated the final margin of victory in a 6-3 U.S. win. Vasilevski faced at least 17 shots in every period, and was the sole reason the Russians were still in the game after the opening 20 minutes, when they were outshot 20-5 but went into the intermission in a 1-1 tie.
3. Sean Kuraly (F) – United States
With Russia gaining momentum early in the third period, having turned a 4-1 deficit into a 4-3 disadvantage, Kuraly put a stop to the Russian push, getting a fortuitous bounce off a defenceman’s stick to get the American lead back to two just 67 seconds after Russia’s 4-3 goal. He then rounded out the scoring in the closing minutes to put the final nail in the Russian coffin, helping the U.S. keep its four-peat dreams alive.

1. Mario Lucia (F) – United States
Playing against a trio of his Penticton Vees teammates, the Minnesota native made sure the U.S. had a quick start, setting up Sean Kuraly on the power play late in the first period and adding a man-advantage marker of his own just 2:18 later to give the Americans a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. He scored his second of the game late in the third period to cap off a 6-1 U.S. win and give the defending champions momentum heading into Thursday’s quarter-finals.
2. Andrei Vasilevski (G) – Russia
The 6-foot-3 goaltender was the sole reason the Russians even got to overtime against Canada East, making 18 of his 44 regulation-time saves in the final 20 minutes, when Russia was on the short end of an 18-3 shot clock. He then turned aside all three Canadian shooters in the shootout, making a spectacular skate-blade save off David Friedmann, to ensure the Russians entered Thursday’s quarters on a winning note.
3. Arseni Khatsei (F) – Russia
Khatsei has been one of the Russians’ best players through the preliminary round and found the back of the net when his team needed it most Wednesday, scoring the game-tying goal midway through the second period before notching the only goal of the shootout as Russia outlasted Canada East in the Group B finale. Khatsei scored goals in both of his team’s preliminary round games and sits fifth in tournament scoring.

1. Mathias Israelsson (G) – Sweden
Another day, another Swedish goaltender in the No. 1 spot. Twenty-four hours after Oscar Dansk stonewalled the Americans with a 44-save performance in a 1-0 win, Israelsson turned aside all 37 shots he faced to blank Canada West 2-0 and help the Swedes clinch first place in Group A, giving them the all-important bye to the semifinals. He was a big reason the Canadians finished 0-for-6 on the power play.
2. Radim Matus (F) – Czech Republic
Matus, along with linemates Erik Nemec and Petr Koblasa, was an offensive catalyst for the Czechs in their first-ever World Junior A Challenge victory, scoring once and setting up two others in a win over Russia. The Matus-Nemec-Koblasa trio combined for seven points, and were in on each of the first three goals as the Czechs opened up a 3-1 second-period lead before hanging on late.
3. Carson Cooper (F) – Canada West
A deserving recipient of his team’s Player of the Game award, Cooper was all over the ice for Canada West in its tournament-opening loss to the Swedes. His line, along with Alex Kerfoot and Travis St. Denis, swarmed the Swedish net on a number of shifts, and only the lights-out goaltending of Mathias Israelsson (see above) kept Cooper and his linemates from being rewarded for their hard work.

1. Oscar Dansk (G) – Sweden
As if there was any doubt. Dansk turned in one of the greatest goaltending performances in World Junior A Challenge history, making 44 saves for the shutout as the Swedes shocked the three-time defending champions from the United States 1-0 on Ludvig Nilsson’s goal with six seconds remaining. Dansk made 14 saves in the first period, 18 in the second and 12 more in the third.
2. Randy Gazzola (D) – Canada East
Despite having just four goals in 15 games for the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks this season, Gazzola was the offensive star for Canada East in its tournament-opening win over the Czech Republic, scoring a hat trick in a 5-0 win. It marked the 14th time someone had scored three goals or more in a World Junior A Challenge game, but Gazzola’s hat trick is the first ever by a defenceman.
3. Adrian Ignagni (G) – Canada East
Ignagni needed to make just 16 saves to earn the shutout against the Czechs, and was rarely called upon to make a tough save, but gets this spot based just as much on his place in the World Junior A Challenge record book. Monday’s game was the 66th in tournament history, going back to the inaugural event in 2006, but Igangni is the first goaltender to ever record a shutout.