TEAM CANADA WEST GOLDEN AT 2017 WJAC
TRURO, N.S. – Team Canada West bested the United States 5-1 in front of a capacity crowd at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro, N.S., to claim its fifth gold medal in tournament history.
Team captain Carter Turnbull (Nanaimo, B.C./Power River, BCHL) – a three-time World Junior A Challenge participant – was on the team that won gold in 2015, and notched an assist in Saturday’s final.
“There’s nothing like it. We’re just ecstatic right now. We just kept it simple – all the guys were rolling, all the guys were getting shots on goal. It was awesome to see, and we really deserved it today,” said Turnbull who took the trophy for a celebratory lap around the rink after accepting it from Hockey Canada board of directors member Michael Brind’Amour and CJHL president Brent Ladds. “There’s nothing like [winning]. I’m speechless, really. It’s just awesome.”
A short-handed goal at 9:06 of the first frame by Brendan Budy (Langley, B.C./Langley, BCHL) got things rolling for Team Canada West, who were up by three goals past the mid-way point of the second period. Team USA’s Jack Drury netted the only goal for the Americans, but Team Canada West added two more goals in the third period to close out the scoring. Full game story and stats available at HockeyCanada.ca.
The week-long event gave hockey fans plenty to cheer for, and they packed the house to cheer on Team Canada West – which featured a player whose roots are in Atlantic Canada.
Goaltender Zach Rose (Paradise, N.L./Victoria, BCHL), who began the tournament as a back-up goaltender, stopped 35 shots in the gold-medal game, and his tournament play earned him a nod as MVP, and he was named to the tournament All-Star Team.
“My team called upon me, and you just gotta step up. I honestly couldn’t have done that without my team – they were just outstanding,” said Rose moments after the celebratory team photo at centre ice. “This feeling that I have right now, wearing the Maple Leaf and winning gold for Canada, it’s just unbelievable.”
Joining Rose on the All-Star Team are defencemen Alexander Romanov on Team Russia and Team Canada West’s Jonny Tychonick (Penticton, B.C./Penticton, BCHL); as well as forwards Ross Armour (Rossland, B.C./Trail, BCHL) from Team Canada West, Colton Kalezic (Toronto/Toronto, OJHL) from Team Canada East, and American Tyler Madden.
“Character. Lots of character, and a lot of heart,” was Team Canada West head coach Mike Reagan’s response when asked about what made the difference for his team. “‘The Western Way.’ That’s what we preached, and the Canadian Way, and I’m just so proud of these guys. Three days ago we were sitting at 0-2, but we believed in this group.”
The 2017 World Junior A Challenge is presented by Hockey Canada, the CJHL, and Hockey Nova Scotia, in partnership with NHL Central Scouting.
Ten of the 12 gold-medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Team Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, and also took home gold in 2011, 2015, and 2017. The team also won silver medals in 2008, 2009, and 2012, as well as bronze in 2013. Team Canada East won silver medals in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2016, as well as claiming the bronze medal in 2008.
For more information on the World Junior A Challenge, visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow along via social media at Facebook or Twitter.