PENTICTON, B.C. – Jimmy Mullin’s sixth goal of the tournament was the game-winner as the United States won gold at the World Junior A Challenge for the third year in a row with a 6-4 win over Canada East on Sunday afternoon.
Mullin – a member of the tournament all-star team – snuck a shot past Canada East Jordan Ruby on the short side to stun the WJAC-record crowd of more than 3,400 that watched the Canadian side come within 4:33 of stunning the two-time defending champions.
Matthew Peca’s goal five minutes into the second period had given Canada East a 4-1 advantage, and it looked to be on its way to its first-ever gold medal at the tournament.
But Sam Warning and Austin Czarnik got the Americans to within a goal before the end of the middle frame, and Czarnik tied the game just 40 seconds before Mullin’s winner, snapping a shot over the glove of Canada East goaltender Jordan Ruby.
Mike Parks, one of the three returning American players from last year’s gold medal-winning team – along with Czarnik and captain Colten St. Clair – finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 60 seconds remaining.
Ruby, who starred in Canada East’s quarter-final and semifinal wins, was just as good on Sunday, making 40 saves. He was one of three easterners named to the all-star team, along with defenceman Tyson Wilson and forward Evan Rodrigues, who co-led the tournament in scoring with seven points.
Mullin, whose six goals led all players, was one of two Americans picked for the all-star team, along with defenceman Scott Mayfield, who was also named UnderArmour© Undeniable MVP
Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko earned the other all-star forward spot.
In addition to Peca, Scott Wilson – twice – and Tyson Spink put their names on the scoresheet for Canada East. Seth Ambroz had the other American goal.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)