CAPE BRETON, N.S. – For the fourth time, the United States has won the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, blanking Pacific 4-0 in Saturday night’s gold medal game at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S.
The U.S. also won gold in 2001, 2002 and 2010. The gold medal game victories in 2001 and 2002 both came against Pacific, which has now taken home the silver medal on six occasions (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2014), more than any other team in tournament history.
Luke Kirwan scored a pair of goals for Americans, and Jeremy Bracco had three assists. Colin White added a goal and an assist; he recorded at least a point in all six U.S. games, and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 18 points (10 goals, eight assists). Christian Fischer had the other American goal, while Michael Lackey needed to make just 12 saves for the shutout.
Zach Sawchenko finished with 48 saves in the Pacific goal. The U.S. outshot Pacific 52-12.
The game was the last to feature a Canadian regional team. Beginning next season, Canada will be represented at the tournament by three national teams.
Earlier Saturday, Russia won the bronze medal with a 6-2 win over Quebec. Dmitry Zhukenov had a goal and two assists, while Artur Tyanulin added a goal and a helper for the Russians, who scored the game’s final six goals, including five unanswered in the third period. Matthew Boucher had both goals for Quebec, which finished fourth for the second year in a row.
Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced.
2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge all-star team:
Goaltender: Michael Lackey (United States)
Defence: Noah Hanifin (United States)
Defence: Jérémy Roy (Quebec)
Forward: Dylan Strome (Ontario)
Forward: Artur Tyanulin (Russia)
Forward: Colin White (United States)
The event brings together the top players in the world born in 1997 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.
Nineteen of the 21 players who were selected for Canada’s National Junior Team and are currently playing in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmö, Sweden, played at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,200 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 10 of the last 13 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013).
For more information on the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/wu17, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/worldu17 or www.twitter.com/hc_wu17.