CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island – For the first time since 2015, Canada White has won the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, needing overtime to get past the United States 2-1 in the gold medal game Saturday night at a sold-out Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.
Cameron Schmidt (Prince George, BC/Vancouver, WHL) was the overtime hero for the Canadians, chasing down a loose puck in the neutral zone and tucking a backhand around U.S. goaltender Patrick Quinlan 9:18 into the extra period.
“I kind of just blanked out, I just went to the backhand and it found its way in,” said Schmidt. “Obviously this team was thrown together, but building that bond from the start and carrying it to the end of this tournament was a big thing. These are my brothers for life, and it was an amazing experience.”
Canada White took the early lead just 98 seconds into the game when Joby Baumuller (Wilcox, SK/Brandon, WHL) redirected a centring pass from Ethan Czata (Brampton, ON/Niagara, OHL) past Quinlan.
It remained a one-goal game until 9:49 of the third period when Charlie Trethewey pulled the Americans even on the power play. The cross-border rivals would trade chances, but the game would need overtime to decide a champion, setting up the Schmidt heroics.
“We really talked about wanting to get better every game,” said Canada White head coach John Dean (Don Mills, ON/Sault Ste. Marie, OHL). “I was very fortunate to experience a very difficult game at the [2023 IIHF U18 World Championship]. As coaches we’re learning as well and my first game in Switzerland we lost 8-1 and we ended up winning a bronze medal. I took some notes from the coach at the time, Jeff Truitt, on how to handle it and stay even keel and realize you don’t win a gold medal in the first game.
“The message to the rest of the group was we’re going to get better every single day. We went to overtime five times, only won one game in regulation; these guys went into the final game and had experienced everything – blowing leads, comebacks, shootouts, overtime wins, coaches being upset and being happy. They went through it all so I couldn’t ask for a better tournament because they got to experience it all and I think there’s a lot of growth here.”
Sweden earns bronze medal
In the bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon, Sweden used a three-goal second period to defeat Czechia 6-3.
Czechia held a slim one-goal advantage after the opening frame on a power-play goal from Tomas Poletin. A shorthanded tally by Milton Gästrin midway through the second period pulled the Swedes even. They would add two more before the period ended to lead 3-1.
The Czechs would add a pair of goals just over a minute apart, but a goal by Ivar Stenberg at 3:39 held up as the eventual game-winner.
Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced.
Forward: Émile Guité (Chambly, QC/Chicoutimi, LHJMQ) - Canada White
Forward: Gavin McKenna (Whitehorse, YT/Medicine Hat, WHL) - Canada Red
Forward: Will Moore - United States
Defence: Matthew Schaefer (Stoney Creek, ON/Erie, OHL) - Canada White
Defence: Charlie Trethewey - United States
Goaltender: Jack Ivankovic (Mississauga, ON/Mississauga, OHL) - Canada White
For more information on the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook and X.