CORNWALL, Ont. – Canada East has finished with the silver medal at the 2022 World Junior A Challenge, falling 5-2 to the United States in the gold medal game on Sunday night at the Cornwall Civic Complex. In the bronze medal game earlier on Sunday, Canada West fell 3-2 in a shootout to Sweden.
Caelan Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, Sask./Brooks, AJHL) opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game off a pass from Sam Huck (Calgary, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL). Lukas Sagranden and Felix Unger Sörum responded with power-play goals, giving Sweden a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Aiden Fink (Calgary, Alta./Brooks, AJHL) scored the game-tying goal on the power play with 15:28 left in regulation – tying the tournament scoring record with 12 points. Noah Erliden made 29 saves and was perfect on five West attempts in the shootout, while Unger Sörum scored the lone shootout goal, giving Sweden its first bronze medal at the tournament.
“You want to be playing for gold, but every one of our guys left it all out there today. It was great to see how our guys played and battled,” said Canada West assistant coach Clayton Jardine (Lacombe, Alta./Camrose, AJHL). “Cornwall did a great job of hosting the tournament. It is always an honor for a player or coach to represent the Maple Leaf.”
“[Head coach Justin] Falk and this coaching staff were unbelievable to us. It was an honour to put this jersey on just for warmups. My linemates [Watkins and Malinoski] were awesome, we moved the puck well and buried on our chances,” said Fink. “Coming into this tournament, we were all rivals in the AJHL, but these guys are like brothers to me now.”
Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced:
F: Aiden Fink (Canada West)
F: Cole Knuble (United States)
F: Liam Watkins (Canada West)
D: Eric Pohlkamp (United States)
D: Tom Willander (Sweden)
G: Noah Erliden (Sweden)
Knuble was named the tournament’s most valuable player after recording three goals and nine points in six games.