LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK – Gardiner MacDougall is the king of the short tournament. He continued his streak on Sunday night in Lake Placid, coaching Canada to the men’s hockey gold medal at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games.
Kyle Bollers scored the winning goal for Canada in the first/second period. The Canadians went on to send a hush over the sold-out American crowd at Lake Placid’s Herb Brooks Arena with a dominant 7-2 performance.
With seven NHL Draft picks on the Canadian team and a wealth of junior and U SPORTS experience, the American NCAA D III all-star squad needed a 1980-esque miracle to claim gold, but Canada ensured that wouldn’t happen.
The silver medal is USA’S first FISU hockey medal since winning bronze at the 1972 Games, also in Lake Placid. Meanwhile, Canada, which hadn’t played in a gold medal game since 2013, added its 16th FISU men’s hockey medal and fifth gold. Canada also completed the hockey-golden double
Team Canada was driving with speed right from the opening puck drop, quickly establishing offensive possession and maintaining pressure through the period. Austen Keating and Zach Lavigne had the first chances of the day from in close but couldn’t beat Ryan Kenny in the opening moments.
Seven minutes in, Keating found Canada’s breakthrough, tipping a point shot from Justin Bergeron, yet Canada’s pressure didn’t end there, as they continuously peppered Kenny with shots, including three breakaways.
Canada’s second of the night came on the powerplay, as Manitoba’s leading scorer Brett Davis finished off a tic-tac-toe play with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot, once again set up by Bergeron.
Despite getting clear assists on the first two goals, Bergeron wasn’t given official assists by the games’ scorekeepers.
The two North American rivals had a feisty affair from the beginning, putting up a combined 10 penalty minutes in the opening frame, with Canada the only team to score on the advantage. Meanwhile, the Americans were held to just three shots through the period, all handled by Canada’s Kai Edmonds.
The Americans began the second period with a bit more speed than they did in the opening frame, getting to pucks quicker and not allowing Canada as much space to navigate through the neutral zone.
Team USA’s first top chance of the day came on a two-on-one, as Bergeron stared down two American forwards, forcing them to take the cross-crease pass where Edmonds sprawled across to make the pad save on Matt Hannewal to keep Canada’s 2-0 lead.
Yet Canada wouldn’t let up, as Kyle Bollers finished off a two-on-one pass at the back post with TJ Shea, scoring his third goal of the tournament to put Canada up 3-0 on the States, and it didn’t stop there.
UQTR’s Lavigne continued to impress as he scored to make it 4-0 for Canada on a tipped shot in front of the goal. Yet the USA finally found their breakthrough soon after as Sam Ruffin finished past Edmonds.
The American three-goal deficit wouldn’t last long, as Canada’s Adam McCormick scored in the final 30 seconds of the period to give Canada a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.
Canada continued their strong play through the third period. Still, it focused on shutting down American attacks and ensuring Canada’s lead wouldn’t deteriorate to the unnerving point, even as American captain Brendan Mark scored with five minutes to go on the powerplay with Jared Dmytriw in the penalty box to make it 5-2.
Canada added their sixth goal with 2:10 remaining in the third through Matt Sturthers. Tyler Hylland then scored in the last 5 second to win 7-2.
With the win, Canada claims double gold in the FISU hockey tournament for the first time since Trentino 2013, while head coach Gardiner MacDougall wins an AUS championship, Memorial Cup and FISU gold medal all within the last 10 months.
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