NOVAK SCORES OT WINNER, U.S. WINS THIRD STRAIGHT WJAC GOLD
JASON LA ROSE
KINDERSLEY, Sask. – Thomas Novak was the hero, scoring 4:56 into overtime to give the United States a 3-2 win over Denmark in Saturday’s gold medal game at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.
The Americans won their third consecutive gold medal, and sixth in the last seven years. They also ran their winning streak at the tournament to a record 13 games, dating back to the bronze medal game in 2011.
With the U.S. enjoying a four-on-three power play early in the extra period, Novak missed a pair of point-blank chances before hammering a one-timer past Danish netminder George Sorensen to end the first overtime gold medal game in tournament history.
Novak’s goal spoiled the performance of Sorensen, who set a World Junior A Challenge record for saves in a game with 60. He equaled the mark set by Belarusian goaltender Anton Mitskevich at the inaugural tournament in 2006 in regulation time, and broke it with five more stops in overtime.
Brock Boeser and Mason Bergh, with just 1:43 to go, scored the other goals for the U.S.
Novak added two assists to his game-winner for a three-point outing, while Boeser had a goal and a helper.
Nikolaj Ehlers and Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist each for the Danes.
Ehlers finished with a tournament-leading nine points (six goals, three assists), taking home the World Junior A Challenge MVP award and earning a spot on the tournament all-star team, alongside Novak.
It took just 33 seconds for the Danes to take the lead; Ehlers took a pass from Bjorkstrand and streaked into the American zone, cutting to the net and roofing a backhand over the shoulder of Eric Schierhorn.
Sorensen took over from there. He made 17 saves in the first period, and added 15 more in the second before Boeser finally pulled the U.S. even on the power play, scoring on their 33rd shot just past the midway mark of the middle frame.
Sorensen had 39 saves through two periods, keeping the Danes in a 1-1 game, and Bjorkstrand restored their lead 5:46 into the third, blasting a point shot past Schierhorn on a two-man advantage.
Denmark looked to be poised to win gold in its tournament debut, but Bergh knocked in a feed from Boeser on another U.S. power play with under two minutes to go, forcing overtime and setting up Novak’s heroics.
The Americans finished with a 63-24 advantage in shots on goal.