By Tina Comeau
When Vince Hinostroza was part of the USA team that won bronze at last year’s World Junior A Challenge in Langley, B.C., he knew he hadn’t accomplished what he wanted to.
With a gold medal hanging around his neck at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, N.S. on Sunday evening – not to mention being named the tournament’s most valuable player – Hinostroza left this tournament feeling much better than last year, given that team USA had defeated Canada West in the Nov. 11 gold medal game by a score of 6-3.
“Coming here and winning the gold is just the greatest feeling of all, it’s one of my dreams to win a gold medal wearing a USA jersey and now I’ve accomplished that so it’s just great,” the 18-year-old told the Yarmouth Vanguard, crediting his team for an effort in which, “every player came out and gave it their all.”
Hinostroza gave it his all as well, accumulating eight points in four games (six goals and two assists), becoming the second USA player to lead the World Junior A Challenge in scoring in the tournament’s seven-year history. Now he heads back to his team, the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL in Iowa.
“Hopefully I’ll go down there and help my team win a championship,” he said.
USA and Canada West are the only two teams ever to win gold medals in this tournament’s seven-year history. Prior to their win this year, the USA had won gold in 2008, 2009 and 2010, with Canada West having been gold medalists in 2006, 2007 and 2011.
There were many records broken or tied at this year’s World Junior A Challenge. USA player Ian Brady had three assists in the gold medal game, and his eight assists in the tournament was a new world challenge record. USA goalie Eamon McAdam stopped 26 shots during the gold medal game for his fourth win in the U.S. net, tying the tournament record.
USA’s Dan Molenaar’s goal, scored just seven seconds into the third period of USA’s first game of the tournament with Canada East was a new record.
Canada West’s 7-0 shutout of the Czech Republic in their first game of the tournament was the largest shutout win in the tournament’s history. The previous record had been Canada East’s 5-0 blanking of the Czechs last year in Langley, B.C.
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The penalty-filled third period of the bronze medal game between Canada East and Switzerland – the teams combined for 215 penalty minutes – set a tournament record. In fact, several penalty records were set in those 20 minutes as Team Switzerland went on to win the bronze medal with a 6-0 shutout over Canada East.
One player who saw his tournament get off to a great start was USA’s Ryan Fitzgerald who scored a hat-trick in the first period of USA’s first game of the tournament – a 9-1 win over Canada East, which was the American’s largest victory at a World Junior A Challenge.
Asked for his reaction to winning the gold medal, Ryan said, “It’s unbelievable playing in front of these hockey fans. We really came together great as a group. We put in the effort and got rewarded from day one.”
The 18-year-old whose hometown is North Reading, Massachusetts, also had gracious words for Yarmouth as a host community.
“They did an unbelievable job up here, hats off to them,” Fitzgerald said. “The people were amazing up here and I had a great time.”
Meanwhile, USA head coach Brett Larson called the American’s victory a big team win.
“Everyone came through when they had to, defensively, offensively, we had guys blocking shots, you had guys taking hits to make plays, you had the goalie making big saves, so to me it was just an ultimate team win,” he said.
Although Canada West scored three times in a span of 8:32 in the second period, which turned a 2-0 lead for USA into a 3-2 lead for Canada West, Larson said the real turning point of the game was a two-minute five-on-three for Canada West in which they did not score thanks to the USA’s penalty kill. At that point the USA was only leading the game 4-3.
“That was the difference in the game,” said Larson. “They were either going to score and get momentum or we were going to kill it off and get momentum, so that was the turning point of the game.”
As for playing in an arena where the crowd was largely behind the other team, Larson said playing in front of the pro-Canadian crowd was still a great atmosphere for both teams.
“You know what, 99.9 per cent of kids who play hockey never get to play in a game this exciting, and for these two teams to be playing for their country in front of a crowd like that is a special experience for these kids,” he told the Vanguard.
The player of the game for Canada West in the gold medal game was Seb Lloyd, who had a goal and an assist in the game.
Meanwhile, Canada West goalie Jonah Imoo (Surrey, B.C./Powell River, BCHL), was named the goaltender on the tournament all-star team following the gold medal game, which was his first defeat of the week, despite a 27-save performance.
Joining Imoo on the all-star team were Hinostroza, Brady, Canada West forward Wade Murphy (Victoria, B.C./Penticton, BCHL), Canada West defenceman Troy Stecher (Richmond, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) and Swiss forward Sandro Zangger.
As for Hockey Canada’s feelings about the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Riley Wiwchar,the manager of Events & Marketing, said it was absolutely fantastic.
“It exceeded our expectations 100 per cent, the fans were great, the volunteers were great, I just want to thank the town of Yarmouth for having us,” he said.
HOCKEY CANADA GAME RECAP:
First Period Goals:
07:42 USA 17 J.T. Stenglein (8 Sheldon Dries, 24 Ian Brady)
16:31 USA 12 Vince Hinostroza (9 Austin Cangelosi, 8 Sheldon Dries) PP
02:04 CAN W 22 Evan Richardson (High Sticking)
12:14 USA 24 Ian Brady (Tripping)
15:48 CAN W 2 Troy Stecher (Hooking)
“You know what, 99.9 per cent of kids who play hockey never get to play in a game this exciting, and for these two teams to be playing for their country in front of a crowd like that is a special experience for these kids." - USA head coach Brett Larson
16:48 CAN W 16 Brandon Morley (High Sticking)
Second Period Goals:
00:59 CAN W 8 Seb Lloyd (6 Devon Toews, 11 Rhyse Dieno)
04:41 CAN W 22 Evan Richardson (8 Seb Lloyd)
09:31 CAN W 6 Devon Toews (3 Paul Stoykewych, 15 Aaron Hadley)
12:40 USA 9 Austin Cangelosi (12 Vince Hinostroza)
15:15 USA 17 J.T. Stenglein (24 Ian Brady, 21 Luke Johnson)
01:17 CAN W 6 Devon Toews (10-Minute Misconduct)
01:17 CAN W 6 Devon Toews (Checking from Behind)
02:16 USA 17 J.T. Stenglein (Elbowing)
02:48 USA 6 Blake Heinrich (Holding)
02:48 CAN W 21 Wade Murphy (Inter. on Goaltender)
05:30 CAN W 4 Luke Ripley (Delay of Game)
18:46 USA 14 Ryan Fitzgerald (Tripping)
Third Period Goals:
09:05 USA 11 Alex Kile (24 Ian Brady, 12 Vince Hinostroza)
17:06 USA 12 Vince Hinostroza
02:19 USA 3 Justin Wade (Boarding)
02:19 USA 17 J.T. Stenglein (Roughing)
18:27 USA 14 Ryan Fitzgerald (Slashing)