With all the gold medals Canada has received at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial over the last five years and today making it six straight, they could melt that gold down and pay off the national debt of a small country. All joking aside though, this year’s tournament wasn’t as dominating as in years passed by Canada. The gap has closed, and will continue to close at this event.
Canada took to the ice against their rival United States squad for gold. It took just 3:58 into the game for Canada to take the lead. Spencer Watson gained the US blue line and dropped a pass to Michael Dal Colle who fired a perfect wrister over the glove of Alex Nedeljkovic for the only goal of the opening frame.
The United States would have two powerplays in the period to Canada’s one. Shots favored the Canadians 10-7.
At the 11:23 mark of the second period Jayce Hawryluk would give Canada a 2-lead. His shot would beat Nedeljkovic five hole. The lone assist went to Joe Jicketts. There were no penalties in the second which saw some solid body checks. Canada would once again outshoot the US, this time by a margin of 13-6.
Time was ticking away on the US in the third to attempt a comeback when in their own zone an errant puck was deflected out to the point where Aaron Ekblad was ready to fire a one timer. His shot went off the crossbar and in for his second goal of the tournament at 12:29 of the period. Brayden Point and Spencer Watson would pick up the assists.
Just 48 seconds later, Point and Watson were in on the action again, this time setting up Brendan Lemieux. Nedeljkovic made the first save on the play but seemed to get no help as Lemieux was right there for the tap in and seal the deal for Canada.
Point would be named Canada’s MVP for the game while it was Austin Poganski for USA. Julio Billia would pick up the shutout – his second of the tournament - while Spencer Watson increased his point total to 10, tops in the tournament – Russia and the Czech Republic have yet to finish the bronze medal game.