From USports: For the first time since 2013, Canada has won gold in men’s hockey at the FISU World University Games. Capping a dominant performance that saw them outscore their opponents 48-8, the Canadians topped their rivals, USA by a 7-2 score on Sunday, January 22, in Lake Placid, New York.
“It’s an amazing feeling. When this group came together two weeks ago, this is what we wanted,” said UNB’s Austen Keating. “We had guys coming from all over the country, and they are all top three or top six guys on their teams. Everyone sacrificed what they do on their school teams, and we finished with a gold medal. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 6000 at the historic 1980 Arena, the Canadians looked to hush the rowdy American fans who wasted no time with the “USA, USA, USA” chants.
“When we came out for the first period, the barn was rocking,” said Keating. “There is a lot of history, and we knew they were coming. Our start was huge.”
Early in the first, it was the Canadians hopping all over the American defence, hemming in the USA and testing netminder Ryan Kenny. At the 13-minute mark, on their 11th shot, Canada broke through. UNB winger Austen Keating tipped a Justin Bergeron point shot past Kenny, delighting the Canadians in attendance.
Canada continued to dictate play, with UQTR’s Zachary Lavigne and TMU’s Kyle Bollers getting breakaway chances, but both were thwarted by Kenny. Then, at 6:55 of the period, Manitoba’s Brett Davis took a Bergeron seam pass and made no mistake burying his 7th of the tournament.
Canada went into the intermission up 2-0 and holding a decisive 18-3 advantage in shots on goal in the frame.
In the second period, the Canadians took the capacity crowd, predominantly cheering for USA, out of the game completely. After more sustained pressure, Canada added to their lead when UPEI’s TJ Shea broke up a play and found TMU sniper Kyle Bollers for the tap-in finish.
Less than a minute later, it was UQTR’s gritty captain Zachary Lavigne tipping in a Noah King shot, making it a four-goal game. Late in the frame, the United States would get one back, scoring shorthanded to give the fans in the 1980 Arena something to cheer about. But less than 30 seconds later, UNB defender Adam McCormick silenced the crowd, scoring on the man advantage on a pass from STFX’s Liam Hawel.
Protecting a 5-1 lead, the Canadians showed why they have been the most defensively stout team in the tournament, repeatedly breaking up pass attempts and throwing their bodies in shooting lanes.
Though USA cut into the lead late in the game, the Canadian insurance goal was enough to give you goosebumps. Playing in memory of his late mother, Concordia winger Tyler Hylland put the exclamation mark on the game and the tournament, giving Canada a 7-2 lead with a goal in the final minute.
When the buzzer sounded, the Canadian players flooded the ice, throwing their sticks and gloves into the air, knowing gold was theirs. The final shots were 47-19, capping an incredible defensive effort all tournament long.
In true team fashion, 12 players on the roster hit the scoresheet, underlining the team’s depth.
“We have grown so close within these last two weeks. It has been an amazing experience,” said Keating, postgame. “This is something we will all remember forever.”