Team Canada West takes bronze at 2018 World Junior A Challenge

"We just had to regroup because we wanted to go home with a medal,”

Canada took home the bronze medal defeating the Czech Republic Sunday afternoon 3-1. Hockey Canada

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Team Canada West finished its 2018 World Junior A Challenge with a bronze medal, beating the Czech Republic 3-1 at the R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville on Sunday.

After a 3-2 overtime loss to the United States in the semifinals, Team Canada West recovered in the bronze medal game by opening the scoring just under two minutes into the first period when Dylan Holloway jammed home his own rebound off a pass from Layton Ahac.

Ethan Leyh pushed Canada’s lead to two just over five minutes later, with Ahac and David Silye picking up assists.

“Obviously we were upset after the game yesterday, but we just had to regroup because we wanted to go home with a medal,” said Holloway in a media release from Hockey Canada issued after the game. “The big thing for us was to keep our heads up, be positive on the bench and throughout the game and just play our best for the bronze.”

Michal Teply tipped in a point shot and had the Czech Republic within one with just over six minutes remaining in the third period before Holloway fired home his second goal with 4:39 to play, securing bronze for Team Canada West. Alex Newhook picked up the sole assist on Canada’s third goal.

“Our guys knew that today was all about Canadian pride. We had the privilege of wearing [the Maple Leaf] on the front, it’s the last time these guys are going to be together and we’ve grown such a tremendous amount and we’ve become close,” said head coach Rick Swan, who also coaches the Bonnyville Pontiacs. “Ultimately, we finished strong and made sure we left the right impression. They gave everything that they had today and I’m proud of them.”

It’s the 10th medal in 13 years for West at the tournament, and its second bronze. The team also finished third in 2013.

Goaltender Matthew Radomsky made 46 saves on his way to his second win of the tournament and Player of the Game honours for Team Canada West.

In the gold medal game, the United States took down Russia 2-0 to win gold for the eighth time during the World Junior A Challenge history.In the gold medal game, the United States took down Russia 2-0 to win gold for the eighth time. Bobby Brink, who was named WJAC MVP, and Trevor Janicke led the offence with a goal apiece, while goaltender Isaiah Saville recorded a 25-save shutout.

The game between the two highest-scoring teams in the tournament was a huge defensive struggle; there were only 12 shots in the first period, and the combined overall total of 45 – Russia held a 25-20 advantage – was just three off the record for fewest in a single game.

It was the second gold America earned in Bonnyville – they shut out Canada East 4-0 to win the top prize in 2016 at the R.J. Lalonde Arena.

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