Russia defeats USA for U-17 Gold, Ontario takes Bronze
ONTARIO vs SWEDEN
In the early game, Max Domi scored twice in the third period, part of a four-goal explosion by Ontario in the final 20 minutes, as the two-time defending gold medalists settled for bronze at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 5-2 win over Sweden on Wednesday afternoon.
“The tide definitely turned in the third. We made that push and got the win,” said Domi, “Winning a medal means a lot.”
It’s the first time since the 2002 tournament in Selkirk, Man., that Ontario has taken home the bronze medal, while Sweden was denied an opportunity to win bronze in back-to-back appearances; it finished third in 2010 in Timmins, Ont.
After a scoreless first period, the teams struck for three goals in just under six minutes midway through the second.
Leon Bristedt got the scoring started for the Swedes, snapping a shot off the post and in past Ontario netminder Spencer Martin, but captain Bo Horvat got the Canadian side even less than four minutes later, keeping on a two-on-one and beating Jonas Johansson.
“I just kept my feet moving and got in the right spot,” said Horvat, “Lucky for me that it went in.”
Bristedt capped the second period with his second of the frame, ripping a one-timer from the hash marks past Martin for a 2-1 Swedish lead after 40 minutes.
Just 20 minutes from seeing its consecutive medal streak end at four, Ontario tied it up just 20 seconds into the third period off the stick of Jordan Subban, and took its first lead when Nick Baptise scored shorthanded at 2:02.
Domi added to the Ontario lead on a power play just shy of the eight-minute mark of the third, going upstairs on Ebbe Siönäs, who had replaced Johansson early in the final period, and rounded out the scoring by sliding one five-hole on the Swedish goaltender with the teams at four-on-four.
The Ontario win ensured at least one Canadian team took home a medal from the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge for the 20th consecutive tournament; every U17 event since its inception in 1986 has featured red and white on the podium.
RUSSIA vs USA
Russia was down 1-0 after the first period to USA in the gold medal game, but roared back with 7 goals in the final two periods to win 7-4. They were up 5-2 midway through the third, but USA pushed them to 5-4 before the Russians sealed the deal with two empty net goals.
Sergei Tolchinski had a hat trick, including a penalty shot goal shorthanded, one of his two shorties during the game.
“Just shoot puck, score goals,” Tolchinski said through an interpreter, “We play like champions and we win gold.”
The game seemed to turn when Russia’s Nikita Cherepanov scored on Hunter Miska from center ice. Miska started despite Thatcher Demko only allowing two goals against the Swedes in their 3-2 shootout win in the semifinals. Miska let in 6 goals on 34 shots.
John Hayden explained how the team pushed but couldn’t finish the comeback.
“We had them by the ropes,” he said, “They’re such a talented team and they shut the door on us. Their goalie was great again.”
Indeed, Nikita Serebryakov had another great game against the US squad, who lost 3-2 in the round robin to Russia behind a 50 save effort by Serebryakov. He had a similar effort in the gold medal game, stopping 45 of 49 shots.
“They shoot, I stop it,” he said through an interpreter, “The States were very good and we give them credit, but we also played very well and deserve to win this game.”
It was the first time Russia won the U-17 gold medal.
With the tournament done, the players all said they enjoyed their time in Windsor.
“It was a great effort by everyone involved,” said Mike McCarron, “Windsor is a fun place to play.”
Tolchinski, who was seen after the win with Nikita Zadorov giving a stick to a disabled fan in a wheelchair, agreed.
“If I was invited to play for the local club (Windsor Spitfires), I would play for sure. It is a great honour to play in this tournament.”
When asked about the stick, Serebryakov explained that, “Anyone of us would have done it, we were all fans at one point in our lives and maybe still are. Maybe Sergei (Tolchinski) is a fan of me,” he jokingly said.
Obviously the tournament was a huge success and Windsor will likely be considered again for next season’s yearly clash of countries. Both Kyle and Brian would like to thank Hockey Canada, the U-17 committiee, the teams and players for giving us the opporunity to be a part of this tournament, for the interviews, and for the experience.
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