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USA wins third straight gold medal

by Mike G. Morreale
Jimmy Mullin scored his team-leading sixth goal 16:07 into the third period to rally the U.S. Junior Select Team to a 6-4 victory over Canada East in the championship game of the 2010 World Junior A Challenge on Sunday at Okanagan Event Centre in Penticton, B.C.

Mullin, who was drafted in the fourth round (118th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning last June, scored his decisive goal just 40 seconds after Austin Czarnik (2011 draft eligible) had tied the game for Team USA. Austin Czarnik, who scored twice in the game, was named Team USA's player of the game while defenseman Scott Mayfield (2011 draft eligible) and Mullin were named to the tournament all-star team. Mayfield, who has been maintaining a monthly blog for, was also named the tournament's most valuable player.

"Our goal for the entire tournament was to climb the mountain," said U.S. coach P.K. O'Handley. "We
were naturally concerned, down 4-1. But we stuck with our plan and came out on top. This was one of my best hockey experiences of my coaching career."

Canada East had taken a 4-1 lead with a pair of goals in the first five minutes of the second by Scott Wilson (East's player of the game, 2011 draft eligible) and Matthew Peca (2011 draft eligible) but the U.S. responded to pull within one on goals by Sam Warning (2011 draft eligible) and Brian Cooper (2011 draft eligible) to close out the middle period.

Michael Parks' empty-net goal with 1:24 remaining sealed the deal while U.S. goalie Casey DeSmith (2011 draft eligible), who replaced starter Zane Gothberg (10 saves in 25 minutes) early in the second period, turned aside all eight shots he faced. Jordan Ruby made 37 saves in the loss for Canada East and was one of three easterners named to the all-star team. He joined defender Tyson Wilson (2011 draft eligible) and forward Evan Rodrigues (2011 draft eligible), who co-led the tournament with 7 points.

Russian forward Mikhail Girgorenko (2012 draft eligible) earned the other all-star forward spot.

In the bronze medal game, Switzerland scored an 8-3 victory over Canada West as 14 different players notched at least one point. Gregory Hofmann (2011 draft eligible) scored twice in the victory.

The Swiss broke open a 2-2 game in the third with six unanswered goals in a span of 11:43 by Reto Schappi  (2011 draft eligible), Manuel Holenstein (2011 draft eligible), Joel Vermin (2011 draft eligible), Romain Loeffel (Swiss player of the game, 2011 draft eligible), Gaetan Haas (2011 draft eligible) and Hofmann. Canada West goalie Matthew Krahn (2011 draft eligible) was named best player for his team.
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