WJAC: On top of the world
The best of the west were too much for the beasts of the east.
Canada West doubled up their counterparts Canada East 4-2 to claim the World Junior A Hockey Challenge championship on Sunday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Carson Cooper scored what turned out to be the game-winner early in the third period.
Alex Kerfoot had a goal and an assist in the contest for the victors.
He also had a huge goal in Friday’s semifinal, potting the overtime winner on a partial breakaway to defeat Sweden 2-1.
“Those are probably two of the top three goals I have scored in my lifetime,” a beaming Kerfoot said.
When he found the puck on his stick and no one between him and the Swedish goaltender, his mind was blank.
“I wasn’t thinking too much,” he said. “I was just trying to get a shot on net. I sort of bobbled it a bit but luckily it went in.”
The victory capped off a great turnaround for Canada West which went 0-2 in the preliminary round, losing 2-0 to Sweden and 6-1 to the United States.
In the quarter-finals, the team got its game on track, winning 4-1 over the Czech Republic.
“We told our guys from day one, I thought if we played a certain way, we would be effective,” said Canada West coach Kent Lewis.
The players agreed.
“Once we figured out we had to get down and dirty in (the other team’s) end, we dominated,” said goaltender Sean Maguire, who made 22 saves.
“It was just sticking to the book and doing what coach said,” Maguire said.
After a scoreless first period, Evan Richardson opened the scoring 74 seconds into the middle period.
Eight minutes later, Kerfoot doubled the lead with his second point of the game.
Canada East’s Michael Neville cut the lead to 2-1 prior to intermission, but 40 seconds into the third, Cooper struck on the power play.
Aaron Hadley extended the lead to 4-1 two minutes later before Daniel Milne cut the deficit to 4-2 with 5:24 remaining.
“We faced some adversity at the beginning of the tournament but we came together as a group and battled back,” Kerfoot said.
“I don’t think any team moves on through a tournament without facing some adversity.”
Kerfoot and Maguire were both named to the tournament all-star team and they were joined by Canada East’s Kevin Lough and Devin Shore, Sweden’s Ludwig Bystrom and the United States’ Mario Lucia.
Shore was named the World Junior A Challenge most valuable player.