CANAZEI, Italy – Canada came to Trentino with only one goal in my mind; to win gold. They achieved it both with the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams at the 2013 Winter Universiade.
Canada claimed gold in the men’s ice hockey final after a 6-2 win over Kazakhstan.
“It feels incredible,” forward Lucas Bloodoff said. “This is what we came here for and we achieved it.”
After falling behind after 14 seconds thanks to an Alexander Shin goal, Canada stormed back with three first period goals through Mike Cazzola, Josh Day and Matthew Maione.
The second period saw them score twice more thanks to Chris Culligan and Neil MacNeil to take a 5-1 lead into the third period.
A rough, fight filled third period saw both teams find the back of the net once each, as Culligan, then Shin, bagged their second goals of the night. Kazakhstan finished the game with 70 penalty minutes, while Canada had only eight in a third period that was full of raw emotion.
The two sides had met in the final match of the group stage in which Kazakhstan picked up a 4-2 win. However, the tables were turned on Saturday.
“I think we went into that first game too complacent,” Bloodoff said. “It was definitely a wake-up call but we learned from it and got the job done today.”
The Canadian team, made up of all-stars from the Atlantic University Sport Conference, came into the tournament with high hopes. With gold now around their neck, Bloodoff says it’s a moment he, nor his teammates, will ever forget.
“It is truly amazing to win gold,” Bloodoff said. “This is something we will all forever share together.”
Canada made it to the gold medal game thanks to a 2-1 victory over Russia while Kazakhstan eliminated the United States in the semi-finals with a 5-1 win to reach the gold medal game as the only undefeated team by then. The Russians beat the U.S. 6-2 to claim the bronze medals.
It’s a double hockey victory for Canada as the women’s team also pocketed the gold medal for the third consecutive time since women’s ice hockey was introduced to the Universiade in 2009.
The Canadian women’s team celebrates after winning the final to continue the undefeated streak after three Universiades. Photo: Enrico Pretto
“It was a great game. For our nation it’s a pride to win this Winter Universiade title for the third time in a row,” Canada’s captain Kim Deschenes said. “During these two weeks, my team mates have made this adventure an unforgettable experience.”
In Pergine, the team coached by Howie James Draper beat Russia 5-0. The first goal arrived in the 14th minute of the game thanks to the action of Jessica Pinkerton. In the second period, the Canadians extended their lead with goals of Smith and Clement Heydra. At the end of the third period came also the goal by Brooker and the second score of the day for Smith.
“For us, this silver is like gold. We never thought to get on the podium before the tournament started. We arrived here in Trentino as outsiders,” said Russia’s Elina Mitrofanova. “We gave everything, also in this very last game. Canada was stronger and they deserved to win.”
Team USA won the bronze medals in a 3-1 win over Japan.
Click here for scores & stats: Men, Women
For general information on the Winter Universiade visit www.fisu.net and www.universiadetrentino.org.
Final Ranking Men:
7. Czech Republic
12. Great Britain
Final Ranking Women:
5. Great Britain