LILLEHAMMER, Norway — The U.S. Youth Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team earned a gold medal at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games with a 5-2 victory over Canada here today. Goaltender Drew DeRidder (Fenton, Mich.) recorded 23 saves and five U.S. players scored in the win.
The U.S. finished the tournament with a 5-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record. The win marks the first-ever medal for the U.S. Youth Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team.
"It was an outstanding win for USA Hockey and our team," said Scott Paluch, head coach of the U.S. Youth Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, who also serves as a USA Hockey American Development Model Regional Manager. "To win the gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games is a tremendous achievement, and one that these young men will remember for a long time."
Eight minutes into the opening period, Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.) skated the puck in from the Canadian blue line and connected with TJ Walsh (Shrewsbury, Mass.), who buried the pass into an open net to make it 1-0.
Early in the second stanza, Tyler Weiss (Raleigh, N.C.) drew a Canadian interference call following an opportunity deep in Canada’s zone. Just :56 into the U.S. power play, Jacob Pivonka (Woodridge, Ill.) sent a pass into traffic where Jack DeBoer (Madison, Wis.) was able to redirect it past Canadian goaltender Alexis Gravel.
Minutes later, it appeared Canada scored but the referees overturned the goal after a review showed a player in the U.S. crease. Ryan Merkley did make it 2-1, however, at 9:32 with a slap shot from the blue line during a Team USA penalty kill.
Christian Krygier (Novi, Mich.) was able to regain a two-goal cushion for the U.S. less than two minutes later when he skated in on net from the left circle and snapped a wrist shot, making it 3-1 to end the second period.
With 3:49 on the clock, Canada’s Allan McShane made it a one-goal game and the U.S. was sent to the box about a minute later. A series of saves by DeRidder during the penalty kill kept Team USA on top.
In the final minutes, Canada pulled goaltender Olivier Rodrique, who took over for Gravel at the start of the third frame, for an extra skater. Weiss and Jake Wise (North Andover, Mass.) each added an empty-net goal in the last minute of the game to account for the 5-2 win.
Notes: Nine U.S. players contributed points in the win. For complete game statistics, click here ... Team USA outscored its opponents 26-9 at the tournament ... In the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, the U.S. finished fourth ... Games at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics Games consisted of three, 15-minute periods … The U.S. Youth Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team competed against Canada, Finland, Norway and Russia … Created by the International Olympic Committee, the Youth Olympic games bring youth athletes from around the world together through sports and the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship.