DAY 7 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17
Cayden Primeau (G) – United States
Primeau finished a stellar tournament with a golden performance, making 14 saves to record the shutout as the U.S. blanked Canada East 4-0 to win its seventh gold medal. He turned away seven shots in the first period, four in the second and three more in the third to post the first gold medal game shutout in World Junior A Challenge history. Primeau finished with a tournament-leading 0.90 goals-against average and .966 save percentage, and joined Jonah Imoo (Canada West, 2012) as the only goaltenders to record multiple shutouts in one year – he also kept Swizterland off the scoresheet in the quarter-finals.
DAY 6 – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16
Andrei Svechnikov (F) – Russia
The 16-year-old has turned the tournament into his personal playground, and added quite the exclamation point in the bronze medal game. Svechnikov had a hat trick, giving him eight goals in four games and putting him atop the all-time single-tournament goal-scoring list, with eight. Each goal showcased something different; he scored the first with speed, the second with power and the third with skill, passing Belarus forward Siarhei Drozd, who scored seven goals at the 2008 tournament. Svechnikov will likely finish as the leading scorer; his 12 points are seven more than any U.S. or Canada East skater.
DAY 5 – THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15
Stefano Cantali (G) – Canada East
A tap of the stick to Lucas Thierus, who scored the overtime winner to send Canada East to the gold medal game for the first time since 2011, but the game would not have reached the extra period if not for the play of Cantali. The goaltender finished with 33 saves, 17 of them in the second period, and a couple of his best on a Czech power play late in the middle frame that helped get the game to the final 20 minutes scoreless. Cantali has put himself firmly in consideration for all-star honours – he leads the tournament in saves (104), and sits second save percentage (.954) and third in goals-against average (1.66).
DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14
Tomas Havranek (F) – Czech Republic
What a night for Havranek, and what a night for the Czech Republic. Already with an assist on a first-period goal to help his team to a quick 2-0 lead, Havranek scored one of the biggest goals his country has ever scored at the World Junior A Challenge – if not the biggest – wiring in a last-gasp one-timer with just 1.5 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime. And although he missed his shootout attempt, Havranek played a signifncant role on a night of firsts for the Czechs – first win over Canada West, first time winning multiple games at one tournament and, most importantly, first trip to the semifinals.
DAY 3 – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13
Ivan Chekhovich (F) – Russia
Chekhovich was at it again, setting up the second and fifth goals for Russia in regulation time – doing his part to help the Russians erase four one-goal leads in the process – before doing the honours himself in overtime, racing away from a pair of Swiss and going to the backhand to score the extra-time decider and send Russia straight through to the semifinals as Group A winner. The OT goal capped another multi-point performance for Chekhovich, who finds himself tied with linemates Alexey Lipanov and Andrei Svechnikov for the tournament scoring lead with six points apiece through two games.
DAY 2 – MONDAY, DECEMBER 12
Petr Kvaca (G) – Czech Republic
He got competition from Russia’s big three – Chekhovich, Lipanov and Svechnikov – but Kvaca gets the nod for becoming just the second goaltender to shut out the six-time gold medallists from the U.S. He spread out his work evenly, making 11 saves in the first period, nine in the second and 10 more in the third, and led his team to a win few saw coming; the Czechs had won exactly one preliminary-round game in four appearances, and none since 2011. But Kvaca got the job done, joining Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Oscar Dansk as the lone puck-stoppers to keep the Americans off the scoreboard.
DAY 1 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
Cale Makar (D) – Canada West
A tournament all-star in 2015, the Canada West captain looks poised for a repeat performance in 2016. Makar became the first defenceman in World Junior A Challenge history – and just the seventh player in all – to record five points in a single game; he had a goal and an assist in the first period, two helpers in the second and a goal in the third to help the Canadians open their gold medal defence with a win. The offensive outburst already puts Makar within striking distance of the single-tournament scoring record for a blue-liner – Ian Brady had eight points for the United States in 2012.