CORNWALL, Ontario – Alex Bump (Prior Lake, Minn.) buried the game winner and Garrett Schifsky (Andover, Minn.) put up two goals as the U.S. Junior Select Team captured the 2022 World Junior A Challenge tournament title, downing Canada East 5-2 in the championship game tonight at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
Tonight marks the ninth time that Team USA has captured the tournament crown (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2022). The U.S. finished the tournament with a 5-0-0-1 record and all skaters on the roster put up at least one point throughout the tournament.
Additionally, team captain Cole Knuble (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was named the tournament MVP, the first time an American has earned that honor since the 2013 tournament.
“It was an exciting atmosphere tonight,” said Eric Rud (Inner Grove Heights, Minn.), head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team. “I thought we had a really strong start, which was great. And then the second period was a wild one. We’re up two nothing, and then it’s tied up, but we immediately came back with two big time shifts and were able to get our lead back, which carried into the third. Our guys stayed strong and played really well. They were smart, played winning hockey and it was a group that got better and better with each game. It was really fun to be a part of.”
Sam Harris (San Diego, Calif.) broke the ice at the 3:17 mark of the first period with a wrister going blocker side past Canadian goaltender Ethan Morrow. Quinn Finley (Suamico, Wis.) picked up an assist with a beautiful feed, as did Sam Rinzel (Chanhassen, Minn.).
Schifsky doubled Team USA’s lead, beating Morrow far side with just under five minutes to play in the opening frame. Joe Palodichuk (Cottage Grove, Minn.) and Rinzel earned assists on the goal.
Canada East got on the board just before the halfway point of the second period, then tied things up with 5:30 to play in the middle frame.
Bump quickly had the U.S. back in front just two minutes later, connecting with Tanner Ludtke (Elko, Minn.) on a 2-on-1, carrying the puck up the ice and netting a shot from the doorstep. Eric Pohlkamp (Brainerd, Minn.) also came away with an assist.
Ethan Whitcomb (Muskegon, Mich.) added a fourth to the U.S. tally from the slot, sending a one-timer past Morrow off a centering pass from Jake Richard (Jacksonville, Fla.) less than a minute later.
Canada East pulled Morrow with 1:20 to play in the game, and Schifsky sealed the U.S. victory with an empty net goal with 55 seconds left. Gavin Lindberg (Moorhead, Minn.) and Finley each earned an assist.
Jacob Fowler (Melbourne, Fla.) finished with 24 saves in the U.S. net.
NOTES: Jacob Fowler was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Cole Knuble and Eric Pohlkamp were named to the 2022 World Junior A Challenge All-Star Team ... Team USA outshot Canada East 42-26 … Team USA was 0-3 on the power play, while Canada East was 0-2.