DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Team Canada East has finished with the silver medal at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge after falling to Russia 2-1 in double overtime in the gold medal game. The medal is the sixth silver and seventh overall for the team.
The four NOJHL representatives on silver medal-winning Team Canada East side were: Nicholas DeGrazia, forward (Rayside-Balfour Canadians); J.J. Johnson, equipment manager (Powassan Voodoos); Corey Beer, assistant coach (Timmins Rock) and Owen Say, goaltender (Powassan Voodoos).
After Pavel Tyutnev scored to give the Russians a 1-0 lead with less than five minutes to play, Team Canada East went on a five-on-three power play in the final two minutes, which became a six-on-three with goaltender Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que./Carleton Place, CCHL) on the bench. Ryan O’Hara (Oakville, Ont./Oakville, OJHL) found Ryan Alexander (Toronto/St. Michael’s, OJHL) with a cross-crease pass, and he beat a sprawling Yegor Guskov with 1:02 remaining to force overtime.
Early in the second extra frame, Russian defenceman Shakir Mukhamadullin found the back of the net on a point shot that redirected off a Canadian, giving Russia its first-ever gold.
“It’s hard to comprehend right now, but I think if we look back at this tournament in a week or two, our guys are going to realize that we did something special here,” said Team Canada East head coach Martin Dagenais (Embrun, Ont./Ottawa, CCHL). “I hope this is a memory our players can have for the rest of their lives, because to come here and win silver is a great accomplishment for Team Canada East.”
Levi, who was named World Junior A Challenge MVP, was exceptional for the Canadians, turning aside 39 shots in the loss.
“It was a tough loss and we are pretty upset right now, but we still managed to defy the odds. We knew we could accomplish this, and we used the underdog mentality to our advantage,” said Levi. “It is every kid’s childhood dream to play for Team Canada, forget about winning a medal. Being a part of Team Canada and being able to represent my country was a great experience and I will never forget it.”
Following the gold medal game, the 2019 World Junior A Challenge all-star team was announced:
Goaltender: Yegor Guskov (Russia)
Defence: Philippe Chapleau (Canada East)
Defence: Daniil Chayka (Russia)
Forward: Brendan Brisson (United States)
Forward: Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (United States)
Forward: Ryland Mosley (Canada East)
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images