Carson Cooper (Bow Island, Alta./Fort McMurray, AJHL) scored the game-winner on a power play 40 seconds into the third as Canada West claimed its third gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge with a 4-2 win over Canada East on Sunday night.
All three of Canada West’s gold medals have come at the expense of Canada East – West topped East 4-3 at the inaugural WJAC in Yorkton, Sask., in 2006 before winning by a 4-1 score in Trail, B.C., one year later.
Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, B.C./Powell River, BCHL) opened the scoring 74 seconds into the second period and Aaron Hadley (Castlegar, B.C./Vernon, BCHL) added insurance for Canada West 2:33 into the third to help West become the first team to ever win gold after going winless in the preliminary round.
Michael Neville (Woodbridge, Ont./St. Michael’s, OJHL) and Daniel Milne (Unionville, Ont./St. Michael’s, OJHL) scored the goals for East, which settled for silver for the fourth time in six years – in addition to losses to Canada West in 2006 and 2007, it also came up short against the U.S. last year in Penticton, B.C.
The two teams combined for just one penalty – a slashing minor against East’s Tyson Spink (Williamstown, Ont./Cornwall, CCHL) that led to Cooper’s winning goal – setting a pair of WJAC records: fewest penalty minutes by one team (0, by Canada West) and fewest combined penalty minutes by both teams (two).
Following the game, Kerfoot and Canada West goaltender Sean Maguire (Powell River, B.C./Powell River, BCHL), along with Canada East forward Devin Shore (Ajax, Ont./Whitby, OJHL) and defenceman Kevin Lough (Ottawa, Ont./Cumberland, CCHL), U.S. forward Mario Lucia and Swedish defenceman Ludwig Bystrom were named to the tournament all-star team.
Shore, who finished with a tournament co-leading six points, was named World Junior A Challenge MVP, becoming the first Canada East player to earn the honour.