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Ryan Smith and Team West Going for Gold!

Three MJHLers go for Gold!

November 9, 2012

 Paul Stoykewych, Kurt Keats (Winnipeg Blues) and Assistant Coach Ryan Smith (Selkirk Steelers) will be battling for a gold medal on Sunday night when Team West takes on the US at the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

 Jonah Imoo made 17 saves for the shutout, his second of the tournament, as Canada West advanced to the gold medal game 1-0 win over Canada East on Friday night.


 The victory means Canada West will face the United States for the gold medal on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. AT, TSN), the third time the two teams will meet for the top prize – the U.S. beat the Canadians in 2008 and 2009.

 Seb Lloyd (Prince George, B.C./West Kelowna, BCHL) scored the game’s only goal, tipping in a James de Haas (Mississauga, Ont./Penticton, BCHL) point shot just over three minutes into the second period, helping Canada West to only the second 1-0 win in tournament history – Sweden blanked the U.S. by the same score in 2011.

Imoo was the story, becoming the first goaltender ever to record multiple shutouts at a single World Junior A Challenge; he also turned away every shot he faced in a preliminary round win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

 His Canada East counterpart, Charlie Finn (North Vancouver, B.C./Kingston, OJHL), did his part to keep his team close by making 23 saves, including breakaway chances by Alex Kerfoot (West Vancouver, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) and Brandon Morley (Burnaby, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) in the third period.

 Canada East will play for bronze for just the second time when it takes on Switzerland in the third-place game on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. AT). The Canadian side lost to Russia in its only previous bronze medal game appearance in 2009.

Stoykewych and Keats said that having the opportunity to play for gold is an unbelievable experience.