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Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

WJAC: A Look Back at the USHL Performance at the World Junior A Challenge

12/19/2019, 4:30pm CST
By USHL

USHL-Led Team USA Takes Home Bronze, Muskegon’s Daniil Gushchin and Russia Win Gold


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

In case you missed it, the United States Hockey League (USHL) and its 25 currently rostered players played a big role in the 14th edition of the tournament, including Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Daniil Gushchin taking home the gold medal for Russia and Chicago Steel and Team USA forwards Brendan Brisson and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine being named to the tournament all-star team.

Team USA’s roster was filled entirely by 21 active USHL players, a roster that walked through the preliminary contests, finishing 4-0-0-0 and outscoring opponents 22-11.

Click HERE for more information about the World Jr. A Challenge

Team USA News


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

The American squad opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over Canada West, led by Brisson’s pair of goals to turn a USA deficit into a lead and earned him the WJAC Star of the Day award. The University of Michigan commit finished the tournament with the lead in points (12) and assists (7) and a three-way tie for the lead in goals (5).


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

Two nights later, Fontaine led a come-from-behind, 5-4 overtime win over the Czech Republic. The Northeastern University commit forced overtime late in the third period and later won the game in extra time. Fontaine finished the tournament tied for the lead in goals (5), second in points (10), and third in assists (5). Both Brisson and Fontaine earned U.S. Player of the Game awards for the first and second US victories of the tournament, respectively.


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

Team USA went on to best Canada East 7-3 with Brisson leading the way again before finishing the preliminary round with a 7-2 win over Russia, led by Lincoln Stars forward Josh Lopina (University of Massachusetts).


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

Twenty-four hours after the preliminary round came to an end, Team USA’s attempt to repeat as WJAC gold medalists came to an end at the hands of Canada East, who picked up a 2-1 shootout win to head to the gold medal game against Russia. USA netminder Logan Stein (Waterloo Black Hawks / Ferris State University) was great for the Americans in the semifinals, earning U.S. Player of the Game honors after turning aside 23 of the 24 shots he faced while Fontaine scored the lone American goal.


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

In the Third Place Game, the Americans came out on top with a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over the Czech Republic. Team USA was backed by another great goaltending performance, this time from Sioux City Musketeers netminder Ethan Haider (Clarkson University), to earn U.S. Player of the Game while stopping 37 of the 38 shots the Czech skaters put on net. Chicago Steel forward Sean Farrell, who finished third in tournament scoring (5-3-8), broke the scoreless tie in the third period before Youngstown Phantoms forward Trevor Kuntar (Harvard University) secured the American team’s 13th medal in World Junior A Challenge play.


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

Stein and Hader finished second and third, respectively in both goals against average (1.89 / 2.18) and save percentage (0.920 / 0.918) among the tournament netminders.


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

Brisson, Fontaine and Farrell finished as the top-three leading scorers in the tournament while Tri-City Storm defensemen Mitch Miller (University of North Dakota) and Michael Koster (University of Minnesota) finished with six points in six games, which tied for fifth in the tournament. Kuntar finished with five points (3-2-5), which tied for eighth in the tournament.


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images


Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images

Non-Team USA USHL Player News

Gushchin and the Russians left the World Juniors with their first-ever gold medal after defeating Canada East 2-1 in an exciting 2-1 double overtime win. Gushchin finished the tournament with three points (3-0-3) in six games.

The Czech Republic team featured three current USHL players: Jakub Dobes, Zack Malik and Ondrej Psenicka. Dobes, an Omaha Lancers goaltender and Ohio State University commit, came up big for the Czech in the third-place game against Team USA, giving his team a shot at the bronze by stopping 29 of the 31 shots he saw through the 72 minutes played. He finished the tournament with a 3.09 goals against average and 0.894 save percentage. Psenicka (Waterloo Black Hawks) finished with five points (2-3-5) in five games while Malik (Muskegon Lumberjacks) added an assist (0-1-1) in six games.


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 18th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2019-20. The USHL had 55 players selected at the 2019 NHL Draft, and more than 800 alumni are currently on NCAA Division I rosters, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

USHL.com

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