BONNYVILLE, Alta. – The U.S. Junior Select Team defeated Canada East, 4-0, in the championship game of the World Junior A Challenge tonight at R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville, Alberta.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” said Jay Varady, head coach of the 2016 U.S. Junior Select Team. “We stayed the course after opening the tournament with a loss and came together as a group. It was a total team effort and this is a memory that none of us will ever forget.”
The win marks Team USA’s seventh title at the World Junior A Challenge since its inception in 2006. The U.S., which also won the event from 2008-2010 and 2012-2014, has now earned a victory in each of its seven trips to the tournament final.
The championship game will re-air on NHL Network tomorrow (Dec. 18) at noon ET.
Nick Swaney (Lakeville, Minn.) opened the scoring for Team USA with just 53 seconds left in the first period. Swaney skated down the right wing, toe-dragged around a defender, and took a shot from the top of the right circle that trickled past Canadian goaltender Stefano Cantali.
The U.S. took control of the contest in the middle stanza, netting three goals while outshooting Canada East, 14-4. Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) doubled the U.S. lead at 2:21 of the frame when he deked around a defender and fired a shot just below the crossbar from the bottom of the left circle. Less than five minutes after Limoges’ tally, Collin Adams (Brighton, Mich.) scored from the slot after a Canadian turnover to make the score 3-0.
Just 3:34 later, Ethen Frank (Papillion, Neb.) scored on a wraparound to give Team USA a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the final period.
Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J.) stopped 14 shots to notch his third victory of the tournament for the U.S., which finished the tournament with four consecutive victories after dropping a 1-0 decision to the Czech Republic in the teams’ opening game.
In all, Team USA outscored its opponents 20-4 at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, racking up victories over Switzerland, Russia and Canada East twice. Two of the U.S. victories, against Switzerland and against Canada East in the final, came via shutouts from Primeau.
NOTES: Alex Limoges was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Canada East 47-14, finished 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill … For complete game stats, click here … Cayden Primeau and Nick Swaney were named to the 2016 World Junior A Challenge All-Star Team ...The World Junior A Challenge is in its 11th year, with the U.S. competing in the event for the 10th time … All U.S. players currently play in the United States Hockey League, the lone Tier I junior hockey league in the United States. For the full U.S. roster, click here … For complete coverage of Team USA. at the World Junior A Challenge, click here … The 2016 field includes Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.