Harrison Blaisell hugs Ross Armour during a preliminary round game at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge. Blaisdell and Corey Andonovski helped Team Canada West win gold Saturday, topping the United States 5-1. HOCKEY CANADA PHOTO

Chilliwack Chiefs duo helps Team Canada West win gold

A 5-1 victory over the United States finished off a World Junior A Challenge triumph in Nova Scotia.

Chilliwack Chief Corey Andonovski had one of Team Canada West’s goals in a 5-1 gold-medal match win over the United States.

The teams met Saturday morning at the RECC Arena in Truro, Nova Scotia in the final of the 2017 World Junior A Challenge.

The United States, stocked with the best of the best from the USHL, beat Team Canada West 2-1 earlier in the tournament, but the table flipped in the final.

Goaltender Zach Rose (Victoria Grizzlies) was spectacular, turning in a 35 save performance.

He was at his best in the final 40 minutes, making 14 saves in the second period and 12 more in the third to help the Canadians win.

He was named the MVP of the tournament after the game.

Team Canada West spread around the scoring, with five different players netting goals and 10 recording points.

Brendan Budy (Langley Rivermen) sniped the all-important first goal, racing away on a shorthanded breakaway and beating U.S. goaltender Jake Kucharski on the blocker side just 9:06 in.

Angus Crookshank, Budy’s teammate with the Rivermen, doubled the advantage three-and-a-half minutes later, playing give and go with Ethan de Jong (Prince George, BCHL) to send the Canadians to the dressing room up by a pair.

Andonovski gave the westerners a little more breathing room at 12:15 of the middle frame, dancing around a defender before sneaking in a shot to the far side of Kucharski.

His tally chased the goalie from his cage. Kucharski had allowed just a single goal in two games entering the final. He was replaced by Ryan Bischel after giving up three on 12 shots in 32 minutes of work.

Jake Drury gave the Americans life with a power play goal late in the second period, chipping a rebound over Rose. Sam Hentges was inches away from pulling the U.S. within one, but his shot rang off the crossbar in the dying seconds to keep it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes.

Any U.S. momentum disappeared early in the third.

Crookshank set up Ross Armour (Trail) for his fourth goal of the tournament at 6:36, and Carter Turnbull (Powell River) forced a turnover deep in the American zone before feeding Dylan Holloway (Okotoks, AJHL) for the fifth and final Canadian marker just 32 seconds later.

This is the fifth gold for Team Canada West – joining 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2015 – and the first time in four tries it has toppled the Americans in the final.

Team Canada West became just the second team in the 12-year history of the World Junior A Challenge to win gold after losing both of its preliminary-round games, joining the 2011 edition of Team Canada West.

Andonovski finished the tournament with one goal and two penalty minutes in five games.

Blaisdell was held off the scoresheet in the final and finished the tourney with one goal and two penalty minutes in four games.

See hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/national-championships/men/world-junior-a/2017

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