Sunday evening started with festive chants of “USA! USA!” at sold-out Herb Brooks Arena but ended with a joyous rendition of O Canada!
In the final event in Lake Placid, Canada topped the United States 7-2 to capture its fifth FISU World University Games men’s hockey title, the nation’s first since Trentino 2013.
The triumph came 24 hours after Canada’s 5-0 shutout of Japan in the women’s gold-medal game, marking only the second time in history the hockey-mad country has swept the biennial tournament, after 2013.
Forty-three years after one of the most iconic moments in US Olympic sports annals, there was no Miracle on Ice this time for Team USA at the famed 1980 Rink.
The Canadians outrageously dominated the opening period and retreated to the locker room with a 2-0 lead after outshooting their rivals by an 18-3 margin in the first 20 minutes of play.
Ultimately, the winners’ well-rounded game proved too much as seven different players found the back of the net. The final shot count of 47-19 accurately depicted their start-to-finish brilliance.
“Tremendous,” was the first word to come out of the mouth of head coach Gardiner MacDougall, who had previously guided Canada to FISU Games gold in 2007. “B.I.W. was our theme today, be the best in the world. Obviously everybody knows this is a hockey shrine for the USA, there’s been a miracle here before.
“We had a good opponent today, unbelievable atmosphere. The fans were just tremendous. Special credit to our crew. From the first time we got together, they continued to get better each time they played. In my opinion, this is one of the best Canadian teams ever at this tournament, when you look at how well they played and their domination throughout the competition.”
Canada went a perfect 7-0 overall in Lake Placid, outscoring their opponents 48-8 in the process.
“It’s amazing,” commented forward Austen Keating, who opened the scoring 6:28 into the contest. “When we came out for the first period, we could hear how loud and passionate the crowd was, and we knew the US would feed off of that. I think our team did a really good job at seizing the crowd early. We scored a couple of goals early, and then built on that lead.
“Our whole team just bought in, all for one common goal, which was to win the gold medal,” added the 23-year-old, who plays under MacDougall at the University of New Brunswick.
Despite the disappointing result in the championship match, all was not lost for the USA as the silver medal marked their best-ever FISU Games finish in men’s hockey. The Americans’ only previous medal was bronze in 1972, also in Lake Placid.
Earlier on Sunday, Kazakhstan defeated Japan 8-1 in the duel for third place.
Written By Miha Trost, FISU Young Reporter
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